Live exports defended as uncertainty contines

Live exports defended as uncertainty continues


Live Export
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Exporter, Emanuel Exports, will appeal a decision by the Department of Agriculture to cancel its export licence.

​PRESSURE on ceasing the State’s live export trade is mounting with Victorian federal ministers backing the banning of Emanuel Exports’ live export licence.

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Challenges: The challenges in the live sheep trade were there for all to see and the industry and its players were working through those, Simon Westaway said.

Challenges: The challenges in the live sheep trade were there for all to see and the industry and its players were working through those, Simon Westaway said.

The licence was cancelled by the Agriculture Department on Tuesday, following an investigation into potential breaches of the Meat and Livestock Industry Act.

The company’s licence had been suspended until now, after footage on-board the live export vessel Awassi Express in August 2017 was shown on 60 Minutes in April.

Emanuel Exports director Nicholas Daws said the company would challenge the decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

“Emanuels is a leading exporter of Australian livestock, and we will appeal this notice as a matter of priority,” Mr Daws said.

“Emanuels remains committed to maintaining the highest animal welfare standards.”

Australian Livestock Exporter’s Council chief executive officer, Simon Westaway, said despite “genuine issues”, live cattle volumes were up 11 percent for the 12 months to July.

“There are parts of the sector that are going better than they were one, two, three years ago,” he said. 

“The sector makes an important contribution and it’s made of many strands. The challenges in the live sheep trade are there for all to see and the industry and it’s players are working through those.”

Liberal Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson, said the private member’s bill proposed by Sussan Ley and seconded by her, was a considered five-year transition to phase out live exports of sheep to the Middle East.

Ms Henderson accused the regulator of not previously doing its job, and said the licence was cancelled now the regulations were being properly enforced.

The science from the Australian Veterinary Association showed that sheep should not be exported live to the Middle East during the summer months.

“I am concerned about this dramatic effective shut down of the industry, contrary to what Sussan Ley and I proposed which was a measured phase-out backed by government support, particularly for on shore processing,” Ms Henderson said.

She said the proposed bill would provide the industry with the certainty it needed.

On Tuesday, Mr Westaway said the market was in transition since the McCarthy Review in May and the direct response by the Federal government to the recommendations had seen an immediate change in stocking densities and heat stress risk assessments.

He said a general industry response was, as the northern summer conditions eased, for exporters to reintroduce sheep into the Persian Gulf and Middle East markets.

The government had also announced changes to the approval process around the notice of intention to export to nullify legal attacks to an export shipment. 

Mecardo market analyst, Matt Dalgleish, said 30 percent of the sheep turnoff in WA was via the live sheep export trade.

The isolated nature of the Western Australian sheep industry, fewer abattoirs and smaller domestic market and consumption all add to the importance of the live sheep trade there, he said.

Mr Dalgleish said the trade was less important in the south east of Australia because it reflects only 2pc of annual turn-off.

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