Live export exemption another failure

Published on Sun 14 June 2020 7:36am

The fact that an exemption is even being considered is entirely the fault of the live exporters. Choosing to run a ship that was riddled with coronavirus so close to the deadline with no proper health or contingency planning is just another example of how the live sheep export industry operates. But why would it change when there is an endless supply of second chances?

It is hard to understand the Department’s backflip in approving an exemption for the live export of 50,000 sheep, especially as it’s now two weeks further into the summer moratorium period.

The moratorium exists for a reason. Transporting tens of thousands of sheep in old sub-standard ships to the hottest part of the world at the hottest time of the year has proved a recipe for animal welfare disasters, as we saw with the Awassi Express and on countless similar voyages. There is no doubt that allowing this ship to travel will put the welfare of sheep at risk.

The fact that an exemption is even being considered is entirely the fault of the live exporters. Choosing to run a ship that was riddled with coronavirus so close to the deadline with no proper health or contingency planning is just another example of how the live sheep export industry operates. But why would it change when there is an endless supply of second chances?

It took the Morrison Government six years to admit and fix their mistake in removing Labor’s reform to create an Inspector-General of Live Animal Export. But despite all the talk of imposing proper regulation on an industry that has been rife with gross and grave animal welfare failures, there is let-off after let-off that follows failure of after failure.

It is past time for government to show leadership and make the transition out of live sheep export in favour of an expanded frozen and chilled-meat trade, with higher-value exports, more jobs, and greater stability for Australian farmers – but most importantly, to end the inherent cruelty of the live export trade.

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