The Federal Department of Agriculture has started to formally investigate under what conditions footage of the Awassi’s May to October 2017 voyages was obtained, according to Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud.
The Department will investigate whether payments were made to fabricate inhumane changed conditions on the voyages, Mr Littleproud said.
“Depending on what the Department finds, other agencies may need to be involved,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Whilst the Department examined all 800-plus pieces of footage at the time, it can’t hurt to investigate. If animals were deliberately mistreated for even one piece of footage, those responsible must be brought to justice.”
Minister Littleproud, currently en route home after attending the EU Agriculture Ministers’ conference in Berlin, said Australians deserved clear information about the footage and any payments made.
He said media organisations would be asked for information to assist.
“It’s important Australians remember reforms to the live export industry were not as a result of nor based on the Awassi footage – they are based on science. The industry had 10 consignments in which more than 2 per cent of the sheep died in the past ten years. I’ll continue to stay the course on these reforms – my office is methodically working through the reform process with stakeholders.
“Doing the sensible thing sometimes means being criticised by both sides.
“Depending on the outcome of these investigations, we may need to consider the best way to make sure taking action which could reasonably be expected to cause cruelty to animals being exported is punishable.
“We need to make sure all animal cruelty is stamped out regardless of the motivation behind it.”
Source: Minister for Agricultre and Water Resources