The promise the labor government made pre-election to stop the live trade of our countries sheep will happen but not this term according to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Earlier in the week Murray Watt – Agriculture Minister has confirmed the government will ban live sheep export by air and sea.
Labor plans to ban the trade over animal welfare concerns, Albanese stated “We need also to make sure that animal welfare issues are looked after,”
“People do care about these issues but they also care about the economic consequences, and I know that overwhelmingly people in the industry also care about the animals as well, and their welfare.
“So, look, we’ll work through those issues to make sure that there’s certainty going forward.”
Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment figures show 552,957 sheep were exported by sea in 2021, while air exports accounted for 22,572, with only one mortality recorded among air transports.
The loss of numbers will drastically affect the livelihood of farmers and the impact will be felt by many businesses involved in the chain of exporting which is a 92 million dollar industry.
For many months the shadow agriculture spokesperson Julie Collins has not committed to state whether the party was planning to end the live sheep trade, but now it is clear.
Senator Watt said the government recognised there had to be consultations with industry and stated ‘It’s not something that you do overnight’
However, 11 years ago the suspension of live export of cattle to Indonesia DID occur overnight and now many fear the ban will expand to all live cattle trade. Watt insists this will not be the case stating “We absolutely have no plans to end or phase out the live cattle export trade,”
The Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive Mark Harvey-Sutton was surprised to hear about the live export ban via air saying “If it’s true, I think it does further point to the unnecessary nature of the policy,”
“Air performance is one of the best ways to transport livestock going around. So, to try and implement a phase out of that strikes me as completely unnecessary.”
Mr Harvey-Sutton said he still hoped the industry could change the federal government’s mind.
“I think there’s a fair bit of consultation that still needs to be done,” he said.
There is no doubt Australia produces some of the best food in the world both from the land and the sea so the question has to be asked after this what will Australia have left for the world to buy?