News National Federal government to review live sheep exports

Federal government to review live sheep exports

What happened aboard the Awassi Express horrified animal lovers the world over. Photo: ABC
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Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has announced a review into live sheep exports following the deaths of thousands of sheep on a ship bound for the Middle East.

About 2400 sheep died on an Emanuel Exports vessel in August last year, and footage taken from on board the livestock carrier was presented to Mr Littleproud last week.

The footage was subsequently aired by the Nine Network on Sunday night, provoking a strong public backlash.

Live exports cause widespread debate amongst Australians.
Live exports cause widespread debate amongst Australians. Photo: Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council

The ship that was featured in the footage – the Awassi Express – is currently docked in Fremantle awaiting a load of more than 60,000 sheep.

Emanuel was also investigated in 2017 after it was revealed more than 2 per cent of a shipment of 69,000 ship sent to the Middle East in July 2016 had also perished on board.

Speaking in Perth on Tuesday, Mr Littleproud said he expected the review, to be headed by livestock veterinarian Dr Michael McCarthy, to take four to five weeks.

“We’ll be undertaking a short, sharp review into the standards of the northern summer trade to make sure that we can get confidence in those boats and the standards in which those sheep will go into the Middle East,” he said.

The Minister also said he expected industry leaders to co-operate fully with the investigation.

“I want them to come on this journey, and not be forced into it, but change the culture of their industry and lead the way,” he said. “Because that’s part of the reason we’re in this position.

“Because industry hasn’t had the cultural parameters that they should have had.”