Australia’s largest live sheep exporter Emanuel Exporters had their licence permanently cancelled by the Federal Government, a decision largely supported by the industry.
On Tuesday 21 August the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources announced the decision and said it was “in the best interests of the industry and for the protection of Australia’s high standards of animal welfare and health.”
This decision came after Emanuel’s export licence was suspended earlier this year after an investigation was initiated following a damning 60 Minutes broadcast.
“Nobody can condone the shocking images that we all saw and us as farmers were appalled as well as everybody else,” National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson told RN Breakfast.
“It means there was a breakdown in that system that we need to address and fix.”
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), WAFarmers and Sheep Producers Australia have expressed confidence in this decision and said it’s a step forward in rebuilding the trust of farmers and all Australians and to securing the future of the trade.
“This is what we have been calling for some time now, for the regulator to act, to act decisively and preferably act swiftly with any alleged breaches of regulations so that the community can have confidence in the live export trade.
“The decision provides certainty to a situation where we haven’t has certainty for a while,” Ms Simson told RN Breakfast.
Western Australia Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the state government supported any steps “to weed out dodgy live export operators and clean up the trade.”
Emanuel’s was responsible for exporting 80 per cent of Western Australian livestock. The cancellation of Emanuel’s licence leaves the door open for other exporters to take over the market.
Major live exporter, Livestock Shipping Services, has been buying sheep and is planning for shipment for mid-September while another company, Kuwait Livestock Transport and Trading had also applied for an export licence.
WAFarmers president Tony York said livestock exports is a crucial component of WA’s sheep industry.
“Without it, sheep numbers would decline dramatically, hurting farmers, regional communities and the workers and businesses that make up the value chain.
“Fortunately, the trade remains open and we look forward to working with other exporters to enable its resumption,” Mr York said.
According to Ms Simson, the live sheep export trade is a valuable industry for WA and for the countries which Australia exports to and takes into consideration the lack of food security and cultural and religious requirements many middle-eastern countries have.
For more information on live sheep export click here.