THE Federal Court has cleared the way for a live export ship to leave Fremantle, rejecting an appeal from Animals Australia against an earlier approval from the Department of Agriculture.

The vessel Al Kuwait is now expected to leave WA this week with 36,000 beasts on board.

The department initially denied Rural Export and Trading WA an exemption to the ban on the grounds of animal welfare, however, a fresh application was approved over the weekend, with enhanced animal welfare measures.

These measures include a vet, unloading at one port only and not loading a hotter area of the ship near the engine room.

The Al Kuwait livestock vessel docked in Fremantle on May 22 and was initially expected to carry 56,000 sheep before the June 1 live export deadline.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has released a statement condemning the planned voyage and exemption saying it would inflict “terrible cruelty” on the 56,000 beasts on board.

“This is the deadliest time of year for live exports which is why the summer sailing ban was put in place,” Mr Wilkie said.

“Australians have not forgotten the thousands of sheep that died and the tens of thousands more that suffered terribly on the Awassi Express in 2017.

“There’s simply no humane way to transport animals, en masse, through hot climates and the sailing ban must be strictly upheld.”

Mr Wilkie said the Commonwealth government had authorised three successive exemptions since making orders aimed at reforming the trade.

“This is yet another example of the federal government sanctioning animal cruelty for its mates in the live-export industry,” Mr Wilkie said.

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“This episode demonstrates that the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is also incapable of safeguarding animal welfare. What’s needed is for animal welfare decision-making to be taken out of the hands of Ministers and bureaucrats and to be given to an independent and powerful new animal welfare agency.”

Mr Wilkie said the industry needed to be shut down

“It’s systemically cruel, costs Australians jobs and lacks widespread public support. The only way to end the cruelty is to end the trade.”

Al Kuwait previously generated headlines when it was revealed a number of crew members had tested positive to COVID-19.

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