More battles for live export

More battles for live export


2012 will be forever remembered as one of the most challenging for the live export industry.


2012 will be forever remembered as one of the most challenging for the live export industry.

Following arguably its toughest year in 2011, dealing with the ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia, last year saw the repercussions of that decision by the Federal Government.

The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) was one of, if not the biggest, transformations for the industry and the effects are still being felt by farmers and particularly exporters.

While the industry has always supported the improvements in animal welfare in overseas markets, it is the ESCAS system and the onus on exporters, that has created a lot of discussion and just how much they should be held accountable for.

Issues in Pakistan, Israel and Qatar were the major stories of the year in live exports, in particular ABC's Four Corners' investigation of 21,000 Australian sheep being subjected to a brutal cull in Pakistan, after it was alleged the sheep were infected with diseases such as salmonella.

But independent testing later proved the allegations were incorrect.

The problems in Pakistan also raised questions over exactly what the Australian Government was asking or expecting exporters to do in foreign countries under ESCAS, after livestock had been delivered and paid for.

The Pakistan debacle also led to exporters needing to have contingency plans in place that were also ESCAS-compliant - a nonsense issue leading exporters to say that if the markets were ESCAS-compliant they would be already delivering livestock (to those markets).

It then forced a virtual ban on live exports which had a major impact on sheep prices, seeing shipping wethers drop $30 in a month, with live exporters out of the saleyards while permits were being sorted.

The live export debate also didn't stop with the constant talk of the country-city divide being shown again through live export protests and calls to again try and ban the industry.

This led to Walkaway farmer Michael Trant rallying farmers to support the live export industry under the banner, Had a Gutful.

The rally was designed to combat the live animal activists who had received media attention and talked down the industry.

Mr Trant organised farmers from throughout the State to head to Fremantle on November 18, in the middle of a busy harvest.

But farmers came out in force, totalling 2000 and gaining national media attention.

And just as many thought the live export industry couldn't get hit anymore, Indonesia cut its import quota for 2013.

It was a further blow to the northern Australian cattle industry but a predicted blow, as Indonesia continued to push for self-sufficiency.

When Farm Weekly made the journey to Indonesia in July, it was clear the Indonesian cattle industry was similar to the Australian livestock industry - waiting for the next Federal election with their fingers crossed for a change of government.

The story More battles for live export first appeared on Farm Online.


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