Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says he has written to Australian livestock exporters giving them until the end of this week to confirm how quickly new animal welfare monitoring technology can be installed on live export ships, ahead of next year’s Middle Eastern Summer.
In a statement released to media today Mr Littleproud said research and studies on animal welfare indicators over many years by LiveCorp, the livestock export industry’s levy funded research body, were used as part of the Heat Stress Risk Assessment released publicly last week, which some have stated will threaten the viability of the industry.
Mr Littleproud said the trade had been aware of concerns since 2003 over the welfare of live sheep travelling to the Middle East between May to October, as detailed in the Keniry Livestock Export Review, and there had been recognition for nearly 20 years that clear definitions of animal welfare should guide the operation of the trade.
He said chair of the Australian LIvestock Exporters’ Council Simon Crean had publicly stated the industry’s support in May 2018 for the industry to move to an animal welfare model, rather than simply measuring mortalities.
“The industry did the science which helped create the heat stress model, but they haven’t done the work on the solution,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Why hasn’t ALEC led the industry transition? “ALEC needs to tell me when they’re going to have the solution. Farmers need to know what progress exactly has been made on this solution and on implementing it. I’m on the side of the farmers here.
“This solution may involve dehumidifiers and improved ventilation.
“The live export industry needs to provide certainty to our farmers and our trading partners. They’ve made millions over the years and now the opportunity is here to invest for the future.
“Ship owners and exporters should not run away from Australia to run ships on live export routes elsewhere in the world, following research about live shipments into the Middle Eastern Summer.
“The pork industry are phasing out sow stalls because they’ve moved with the expectations of society and the market. Other agricultural industries recognise the need to do this.
“Some 35 pieces of research on heat stress have been completed by live export research body LiveCorp. ALEC exporters are years behind their own research. Time is against us.
“I’m also concerned ALEC and members were given research five years ago showing public attitudes against the industry were at crisis point and true transparency and animal welfare indicators were urgently needed. Why has this not been acted on?”
Minister Littleproud said his letter requested answers by the end of the week.
Source: Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud