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Media Release

 

Three-month ban for live export still not good enough

New moratorium: Australia will not export live sheep to the Middle East during the northern summer next year.

Livestock exporters have told Australian farmers this week that they will stop the trade of live sheep for three months effective 1st June 2019. This latest news comes as the industry continues to struggle with public outcry following the leak of images showing distressed and overheated livestock being transported overseas.

The pressure to end live sheep exports was ignited when damning footage emerged in April revealing more than two thousand sheep died onboard the Awassi Express in transit from Australia to the Middle East in August 2017.

Announced yesterday afternoon by the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council, the new moratorium would mean that from June 1 no shipments of Australian sheep will leave the country for the Middle East during what is known as the highest heat-stress risk period of the northern summer.

The Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) chairman Simon Crean said the industry-imposed moratorium would provide a reset for the trade after recognising that the majority of mortalities (above 1.5 per cent) occurred during the June to August northern summer period. While the industry claim to have launched this ban in the interest of animal welfare, livestock now face new risks of being stockpiled during the ban and being overcrowded on voyages to make up for lost time.

Animal Welfare League NSW recognise the attempt for an industry reform but the announcement of a three-month ban for live export is still not good enough. Australian livestock suffer in cruel and deadly conditions on voyages to the Middle East, and with such a horrific record – and an industry that continues to fail in meeting regulation standards for animal welfare, the Australian public cannot put faith into this ban when previous promises to protect our precious livestock have not been met.

"Firstly, we do not want our farmers to feel any type of economic pressure, however, we believe it is about time to start respecting the animal whose back our country has ridden on for such a long period of time. It is imperative that our governments provide legislation that supports our farmer's economic wellbeing, allow for the welfare of these animals and meets societal expectations. This may mean a change in the way we do things, for example investing in a chilled meat industry, however there is no reason not to explore other avenues. We would welcome an opportunity to work with all stakeholders to find a way forward", Animal Welfare League NSW CEO Mark Slater said.

If you agree that it's time to see an end to live export, post your comments on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AWLNSW

More information: Chloe Crass, P: 02 8777 4465, M: 0406 337 674, E: media@awlnsw.com.au

Animal Welfare League NSW:  P: 02 8899 3333,  E: helpingpets@awlnsw.com.au