FOOTAGE of Australian sheep being kept in cruel conditions on board a livestock ship has prompted renewed calls to end livestock exports altogether.
Leading Nine Network program 60 Minutes broadcast confronting footage of the sheep on board the vessel Awassi Express during a voyage last year and similar stills were later circulated by Animals Australia.
Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie, a long-time critic of live exports, said the latest footage of conditions on board live export ships bound to the Middle East was “nothing short of appalling”.
“But we’ve known for years that the worst offenders are these sheep ships travelling to the Middle East, on which animal fatalities are often way beyond government standards and records are routinely falsified,” Mr Wilkie said.
“Surely this is all the proof that this vile trade must be shut down and shut down immediately. The latest evidence demonstrates clearly that these exporters are breaching federal and state laws, as well as international standards.”
Mr Wilkie is to address a rally against live exports in Hobart this weekend.
As reported by DCN, Agriculture minister David Littleproud has announced a review into the powers and culture of the regulator, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, after seeing the footage.
Additionally, Mr Littleproud announced the establishment of a telephone number for whistle-blowers to anonymously provide information.
The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council said the footage shows more needs to be done to reduce risks during voyages to the Persian Gulf by building on existing welfare practices.
“We now need to reinforce the independence of the reporting processes to ensure standards are met,” said ALEC chief executive Simon Westaway.