Live Export

What you (probably) don’t know about sheep exports

Byron O'Keefe, 30/05/2024

Victorian cattle producer, Marcus Oldham graduate and export trade consultant Byron O’Keefe has worked in the livestock export industry since 2003, and was named Australia’s Young Livestock Exporter of the Year in 2016. Here he provides unique, personal and relevant insights into why many believe the sheep export industry is an industry worth supporting not only by Australia but for people, livestock and food security in the countries it serves.

Byron O’Keefe.

 

WHEN we discuss the exporting of live sheep by large ships from Australia to countries in the Middle East, the majority of people immediately think of questions such as: do they have access to water and feed, are they crammed into these spaces with out room to move and on top of each other, and what is the environment like when they arrive to their destinations in lands most have never seen nor heard of except for in the news, mostly regarding civil unrest and conflict in the region?

Live export entails much more than people think. The focus is on animal welfare, but ultimately we are dealing primarily with the human aspect and the welfare and conditions of the people working with the livestock, which in turn provides better animal welfare outcomes.

Why you might ask? Let me dive a little deeper into the live export trade.

I have been fortunate enough to work with our live trade partners across the globe, from warm and humid late nights in the abattoirs of SouthEast Asia, sophisticated high tech systems in the Middle East that include air conditioning for the livestock or the cold months in Turkey where Europe meets West Asia and livestock are housed inside to keep warm, no system is the same but they all have commonalities.

We can describe the freshwater in Egypt that is manually monitored 24 hours a day to ensure the levels and quality are maintained or the feedlot rations that have been meticulously measured by experts to ensure animal performance is maintained during the changes in stock class and weather, and the other day to day conditions.

Yet I think we are past this point in the discussion of animal welfare, as these measures have failed to capture the attention of many.

We need to provide a better picture of the supply chain partners and how they depend on the live trade and what it means to them and us collectively.

Vessels will arrive at different times of day to the Port due to various reasons such as docking space, weather delays or other factors. At times this can be in the darkness. An arrival at a port at 1 am means starting a discharge at 4 am when most people are still tucked up in bed. The assertion that arrival time is co-ordinated to sneak into a country before the animal activists get the heads up that they are arriving is propaganda, as technology and the use of marine apps allows the general population to get a clear picture of the direction and location of vessels.

Discharges can vary in length, work around the clock and string out for several days if it is a large consignment with multiple lines and customers. The key to a successful discharge is the stevedores, it is important to ensure they are rested, fed and hydrated. Recognition that it is a tough job and that it can suck standing out in the elements unloading a livestock vessel for days is as simple as buying the lads their favourite energy drink or a juicy fresh orange to keep up morale and help provide a link between their health and the health of the animals.

Sleeping at the port in a shipping container on a cold Turkish night or getting shut eye out in the open air on the beautiful warm evenings in Aqaba, Jordan. I have experienced it all with the local teams.

In the feedlots it can be a very similar experience to the ports, long days and nights with the majority of the labour force being men that are travelling abroad for work. They have left their families in Egypt, Syria, Somalia or Nepal and are working in feedlots/farms for what in most cases is a minimum monthly wage, that we would all fail to live on for a week, let alone a month. Their contracts (if they have one) range for various lengths, it is not uncommon for them to be away for two years at a time. Yet they are immensely grateful.

Training in abattoirs has been pivotal in up-skilling stockmen and propelling them from a low status worker who previously would be considered expendable, to a most valuable person in the facility with the ability to stop processing if they foresee animal welfare was going to be compromised.

I have shared meals with people who have very little income, possessions, education and come from very different backgrounds than myself, yet when we sit together to discuss things such as taking care of our livestock, we connect and build strong relationships that stretch across the world and last for a lifetime. I have been invited for lunch in their family homes, gone on family trips to the seaside, celebrated birthdays, religious festivals and enjoyed countless amazing meals and hours of conversations all through the bridge of animal welfare.

Where are you going to get your next meal or fresh produce isn’t normally a daily thought for the everyday Australian, yet in the countries I have visited over the past 12- 13 years it is a reccurring experience. I have trained Syrian men in Turkey about the importance of animal welfare, while their cousins just a few hundred kilometres away were dying in Syria from the disaster that is war. I have shared a beautiful homemade chicken meal with rice in the dining room of a palestinian family, sitting next to a dozen 12 volt batteries which ensures they have power when the military decides to cut power for hours at a time without warning.  Tragically this family is no longer living in their home due to the most recent war, and I am unsure of their current location.

If Australia is removed, trade will continue from suppliers without animal welfare standards

If Australia is removed from this important trade, trade will still continue on, sheep will still come from countries such as Romania, Sudan and Somalia, but what is lost is the trade of information and influence of improving a supply chain for the good of all livestock through the system. I have not once in over a decade come across any person from another exporting country providing on the ground animal support for their trade partners.

As I write this I am preparing my own property and livestock for the month of June as I will be travelling to the Middle East for Eid Al Adha, leaving my wife (who also has her own business) and kids to run our operation. The timing couldn’t be much worse to be honest, a failed 2023 Spring resulted in pasture growth not meeting normal expectations and production levels and now a dry Autumn with minimal rain and very little pasture growth leading into Winter.

So the question  is, why do I drive four and a half hours to Melbourne, catch two planes and finally arrive in the Middle East 30 odd hours later from door to door? Because of the people and the livestock and the opportunity to make their lives better.

Victoria has barely reported on the live sheep trade, it is a distant whisper. Even stock agents in Victoria aren’t equipped with the knowledge that this decision is a step towards a dark path of ignoring science and recent performance of an industry. It is adhering to the voices of a minority group that doesn’t understand the agricultural landscape and has no intention to do so.

A reduction in mortality rates by 81 percent in ten years, now down to 0.18pc for sheep exported by sea in 2023, demonstrates the desire and willingness for continuous improvement. If an industry can improve and evolve at this level, yet still be driven out of business through misinformation and propaganda, then we all need to be on notice regardless if you are a sheep producer, beef producer, dairy farmer, vegetable grower or a coffee shop owner in the city. These decisions will affect you and your families.

In 2011, when the live cattle export industry was at its knees and was facing the possibility of closure, people were looking for alternative careers and jobs. Now in 2024 the sheep live export industry is on its knees and I hope this small insight can help people understand the importance of the industry.

Food security is the vital link

Food security is the vital link in all of the above. Food security is a word that we hear very little of in our nation, primarily because we are a net exporter of our produce and we produce a far greater quantity of food than our small population can consume, in excess of 70pc of what we produce is bound for the dining room tables of our trading partners. COVID 19 gave the Australian public a small glimmer of what it is like to not be able to go to the local shop and source the food and essential supplies that we are accustomed to on a daily basis due to logistical difficulties and other restrictions. We all witnessed the local consumer flock to key staples such as fresh meat and vegetables when they were available, and leave the rest of the highly processed foods on the shelves.

If we are not careful about our nation’s direction regarding our agricultural production systems and decisions we make such as live export and the flow on impacts of trade restrictions, food security will become a more prevalent issue for Australia.

Live Export is not just about the ships and the animals, it is about improving human welfare through education, sharing knowledge and building relationships that subsequently has a positive impact on animal welfare.

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Comments

  1. Ben McGrath, 05/06/2024

    If the government are banning live sheep exports why is Minister Watt saying live cattle exports will continue? Are Cattle not animals like sheep? We are talking about the welfare of all animals so why is one safe and not the other? Improving animal welfare on the ships is a priority and the industry has obviously improved this to a mortality rate of 0.5% which is a great outcome. ABC Landline did a episode on the welfare of sheep on the ships which showed how the industry has changed and what is now being implemented on all ships leaving Australia. This is all to improve the welfare of animals. Yet the government are not looking at the improvements or even listening to the scientific experts who they employed. No one wants to see animals harmed but the reality is when you have livestock you are going to have deadstock in any enterprise. To improve the end destination for Australian animals wouldn’t the money being spent by the government to phase out live sheep exports be better spent on working collaboratively with the countries on improving and maintaining Australian animal welfare standards in the abattoirs. Australian’s do not have the right to stop another countries religious beliefs but the government does have the right in controlling the slaughter of Australian animals in an overseas country under Australian animal welfare standards. Minister Watt has pledged to build more abattoirs in WA but isn’t there currently a labour shortage in Australia across all abattoirs which is affecting the production of meat? How many abattoirs are currently running consistently at full production? The banning of live sheep exports is an easy voting strategy for the next election and not based on current science and expertise.

  2. lynton malley, 04/06/2024

    Looks like common sense & clear thinking to me .

  3. Brett Edwards, 04/06/2024

    As a former farmer who still has many friends and family in the industry, I find the decision to end the live sheep export industry absolutely nonsensicle and extremely short sighted. Nonsense, because they have completely ignored the science that has gone into the sustainability of the systems used throughout the industry.
    Extremely short sighted; because of the massive damage to the Rural economy it will inflict and the National economy as a direct result. Also because most of the support industries aren’t readily interchangeable they will wither and die. And not least of all, where are all the meat works to process the sheer volume that these markets demand. Not to mention the increase in domestic retail meat prices that mass sheep industry exits by farmers will create.
    The Government needs to reverse their decision… or history will condemn them.

  4. Chris, 03/06/2024

    I work in the meat industry and my thoughts on this is that the meat should be slaughtered and packaged here then shipped overseas, creating more work in the meat industry here in Australia. If they like our meat we produce so much here they will still buy it anyway as they need it. Also the middle east are rich countries they can afford it so why not help out everyone here in Australia creating more jobs.

    Thanks for your comment Chris. On face value, it may seem logical to simply process all livestock in Australia and export in a box. But what’s not widely understood or appreciated is the inadequate or non-existent cold chain in the importing countries ie, the lack the cold storage and refrigeration infrastructure to keep it. Keeping an animal alive until it is time to eat is is the oldest and most effective meat preservation system known to man. Editor

  5. Roger French`, 03/06/2024

    Thanks for this explanation, Byron.
    I have to reluctantly agree that the live sheep export ban may be creating more animal suffering than it prevents.
    Sheep and cattle are meant to graze in grassy paddocks, not spend weeks confined to a swaying pen. However, in view of the cruelty associated with live exports from the countries you mention, our exports may be the lesser of two evils.
    Definitely a different point of view from that of people with superficial information.

  6. Jack Doherty, 03/06/2024

    Thanks Byron for an extremely well written article giving me the other side of the argument that I have been unable to source in my usual mainstream news.

  7. George Malinov, 03/06/2024

    Hey mate no matter which way you spin it is like the proverbial “lipstick on a pig”.
    I am a sheep farmer, a vet and also grew up in a neighboring country of Turkey. All I am going to say is: “I don’t want my animals near this part of the world! Anybody that doesn’t agree with me, just Google Eid al Adha and watch the videos and photos. If you still want to send your animals there… You shouldn’t be a farmer!

  8. Mark Lucas, 03/06/2024

    This article has been a great insight to the live animal export markets, which I’m Not against, but shows the effects/benefits and considerations throughout the live export trade,
    Something our Governments & departments are ignoring, in-place of
    a small group of political groups, Agenda’s…

  9. Louise House, 03/06/2024

    What a wonderful article of human experience . Care and love for the people underpins the care and love for the animals. This is a true calling.

    I’m sorry that the ignorance and self serving reinforcement of stereotypes keeps skewing factual information as I read below. Sometimes it might be remembered that one needs to ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ to really understand.

    Thanks for your boots
    Louise

  10. Greg Pietsch, 03/06/2024

    Have lived in the N.T., when only abattoirs ruled the price for cattle.
    Enter the live export trade for cattle, and the price for export cattle literally put money in pockets, and security on the land was positive.
    It is plain to see from up here in the N.T. that abattoirs will rule the roost when the (idiotic) ban on sheep proceeds. The cost for retailed meat won’t be lowered, and the farmer would get a minimal price.

    It would be a good thing if farmers across the nation with-held their produce for a week, what a wake up call that would be.

    Greg

  11. Jenny, 03/06/2024

    What an informative article! My husband flew to SA well over 40y ago with a group of W Qld graziers to load sheep for export.
    The ACTU had refused to load so we called their bluff and said we’d do it. The ACTA came good and did their job. Such a vital industry for Australia and sheep producers!

  12. Doug Martin, 02/06/2024

    Byron O’Keefe I’ll use another tact here.
    Firstly, try living the basic wage people get here and that doesn’t go very far either.
    Secondly, export, export, export, farmers want people to look after them, all the time, try looking at home first.
    Lastly, farmers try to stop any imports, which challenge their monopoly, and bring down costs here.

  13. Peter Wilkinson, 02/06/2024

    Awesome article When will privileged Australians stand up for our economy and our integrity in agriculture before weak governments do any more damage.

  14. Tan EVANS, 02/06/2024

    Thank you for a very honest article, written by someone who knows.

    We hope this gets read by those that obviously have no idea!!

  15. Tan EVANS, 02/06/2024

    Thank you for this informative article that says it from an honest & yet qualified perspective.
    I am sharing this for those that may not fully understand.
    We are proud WA Wheatbelt farmers, who love our animals and proud of the care they are given all the way through until going to feed not only our own families, but families across the world.

  16. Susan Singleton, 02/06/2024

    Thank you for your educated information! Australia has the best live export standards in the world. Unfortunately the ignorant are now ensuring the live export animals will be mistreated by other countries that do not have our strict controls. But ignorance is bliss and they will foolishly believe they have achieved their goal!

  17. June Hartwig, 02/06/2024

    What a wonderful article. Problem is how to get it out to those who need to read it.eg. our politicians who make the decisions. Whilst not noting the first thing about it’ as you have mentioned they can finish it with the stroke of a pen.Thank you for enlightening those of us lucky enough to read it.

  18. Andrew Page, 02/06/2024

    Excellent article – sadly our media world will print any story that is sensationalised and our government has to bow down to the Greens cause that’s the only way they can get into power

  19. Jay Webster, 02/06/2024

    Something else the government has bowed down to the minorities with absolutely no consultation with the industry. Haven’t we got enough to deal with in the bush.

  20. Brian Shadler, 02/06/2024

    Thank you for enlightning me. What is needed is for politicians to read your article.
    How do we get that to happen ?

    Keep up the good work.
    Brian.

  21. Gary White, 01/06/2024

    I fully support the export of the live sheep/beef industry in Australia. The overseas customers and we in Australia need this industry to better our standard of living. A lot of people in Australia don’t understand not having refrigeration as we live in a 1st world country, they need to be educated on these things.

  22. A Davies, 01/06/2024

    Live sheep export is truly so important to West Australian farmers and all the allied workers tied to this export. We realy must keep fighting for Live Export of Sheep to continue being available for years to come, not shut down.

  23. Sean O’Connell, 01/06/2024

    We need to save our sheep exports for the greater good of or farmers and the supply of food to our export communities

  24. Terence Fishpool, 01/06/2024

    Absolutely a wonderfull article & background to a vital industry for other people that are not as Lucky as those of us living in Australia.
    Happy well nourished people can lead to the opportunity to have a peaceful life.
    Meat has been a part of human life for a millennium.
    Our Agricultural industry has made enormous progress in this industry with animal welfare.
    Australia punches above its weight in producing food for the rest of the world. This has provided the volume of produce to effectively help guarantee a high degree of food security for our own Australians consumers.

  25. John Lilley, 01/06/2024

    That was a very very good post.I just wonder how many Aussies will read it and realise what is being lost with the closure of livestock exports.
    I have read it because I’ve worked most of my life in the wool industry that’s where. I turned from a confused young man into one that found productive employment that was good for the country and even through many up’s and downs I have never been out of employment since I started
    It probably stems from all I was taught about captain cook and James McArthur whilst travelling on a ship as a 10 pound Pom many years ago the sheep industry is a very strong backbone of Australia even in this day and age and is going to cause a lot problems if it is broken
    Unfortunately we have become a nation of people who are living in our own private comfort zone I see it every day at work in the shops on the roads and people don’t really care about much else until their own comfort is disturbed.
    I highly recommend the post I just read I think it should be broadcast more widely put where people outside the livestock industry cannot ignore iit.

    • Lindy French, 01/06/2024

      1.While l respect. The writers comments, my concerns are that this is open to abuse.
      Why our own meat works were closed here has brought about a lot of issues we didn’t have prior to live sheep export.
      & secondly the majority of our own country cannot even serve
      Lamb to our family’s more than
      A5 best once a year off we are lucky due to the costs
      Growing costs of meat.
      It’s time for both the Gov.
      & Primary producers to start talking common sense

      • Beverley Kaye, 02/06/2024

        Hi Lindy,
        As a retired farmer with family still farming, your comment is off topic, misleading and incorrect.

        1. Meat work closure has extremely little if anything to do with live sheep export. The numbers of live sheep exported is very small compared to total sheep slaughtered. Dressed meat is also exported, packaged and chilled or frozen then flown or freighted overseas. Coincidentally, this is where the government thinks the meat from previously exported live sheep will end up also, a fair chunk of the pitiful financial package is to prepare processing facilities to take on extra sheep. I highly doubt there will be any change to meat for the local markets, in all likelihood there will be less sheep as a direct result of the ban and this will push domestic prices higher. One only has to remember the crayfish price drop during Covid and the resounding hikes post Covid.
        As a part of collective humanity I am saddened and concerned that the major buyer of sheep pleaded with the government not to abolish the trade as a portion of his people will not eat chilled/packaged meat they want it fresh due to cultural and religious requirements and he was concerned for food security for his people. The worrying part for me though is that the market will be supplied elsewhere and there is no regulated and enforced animal welfare conditions so the replacement sheep will suffer unnecessarily. There is no real concern for animal welfare when officials take the view ‘if it doesn’t happen on my doorstep it doesn’t matter’!

        2. As for your raised shelf price of sheep meat for the local market somehow being the result of greedy farmers and the live sheep trade, that could not be further from the truth. Recently a WA farmer who raises a prime lamb received just over $5 per kg for dressed weight lambs, that is just 10% of the $50 anyone pays for lamb cutlets – this was very recent, less than a month ago. Please direct your ire where it is deserved and not the farmers nor the live sheep trade.

        In closing I urge you to do some research into facts and figures and when informed rejoin the conversation with accurate input.

  26. Marian Dack, 01/06/2024

    I totally support live export and have big concerns for the future and the food security in Australia. Why haven’t the Politicians listened to the experts, travelled the journey and gained the knowledge of this Industry before bowing to the whims of the so called “do godders” who are totally ignorant and jump on any bandwagon to gain attention? Shame on our Politicians who are destroying our country and the industries that sustain it.

  27. Graeme Butcher, 01/06/2024

    Bryan you sound like a good genuine person and If what you say is true then misinformation has caused this problem with the trade. I wish you all the best but I think the trade needs to be overseen and controls of animal welfare Must be in public so There is no secrecy there is no excuse for animals suffering regards Graeme

    • Anne, 02/06/2024

      I cannot believe you still have doubts on this very good read on the live trade Perhaps you should join him and see for yourself. You must be very snug in your environment and cannot see for the cotton wool around your ears and eyes!

  28. Sue, 01/06/2024

    Great report, I wonder what those in favour of stopping live export think will happen to the sheep. I hope they spare a thought for the Australian farmers who will be forced to dispose of surplus stock, a task nobody wants to do.
    We have the stock to feed many but unfortunately many lives both here and abroad will be affected.

  29. Catherine Hudson, 01/06/2024

    Why so much worry over the welfare of a very small proportion of sheep that may be traumatised or in rare cases die ? How about the thousands of fish that are dangled on a hook daily and either struggle away ,or die ,flapping on the ground around the thoughtless fisher persons that snared them

  30. Gary Hogan, 01/06/2024

    Thanks for your article and invite into this very real and evolving situation. I have been interested in this issue for years. Wonderment over the reason- need for live exports Over packaged products in these countries. Raises the issue of referation luxury is not available to all people as a right as we have here ?The need to kill, distribute and consume these animals needs to be brought to the attention of the general public. We are a fortunate country with many benefits that others don’t have access to. I regret I have not voiced my thoughts on this issue before. We the public have a right to be exposed to all considerations on this and other issues. Rather than the sometimes polar point of view from the rural sectors wishing to supply a need for fresh food. The insular view points from anti live stock lobby and media outlets requires looking into. Cut the trade , we still have weather requirements to reduce stock levels . We can’t economically feed them for no commercial benefit – so the animals are left to die in the paddock. A waste of food for the world . Any number of other countries will and can fill our the supply gap our well meaning public and elected government gifted to the competition.
    Yes I have enjoyed a lot of the progress over my time. From Coolgardie safe,kerosene lights/referation and electricity at the door. We need to look into all aspects of issue rather than the acceptance of the vocal minority.
    Thanks for the opportunity to enable me to put my views down. There are more like me out there.

  31. Richard Staples, 01/06/2024

    Australia last year exported 557,000 tonnes of processed sheep meat. So for every live sheep exported we exported a tonne of processed meat. In other words, the live sheep export trade constitutes only a tiny percentage of total exports, and an even smaller proportion of total sheep meat production. It shouldn’t be too hard to set up abbatoir facilities on-shore to eliminate the trade totally.

    • Gary White, 01/06/2024

      Richard, How do you send box meat to countries that don’t have refrigeration to store it. They need live animals so they can kill to suit their consumption.

      • Katrina Love, 03/06/2024

        Gary – a census done back in 2012 found that household refrigeration in the oil-rich Gulf countries we export to was over 99%… hardly seems possible to rise, but it would indeed have risen since then.

        But…if they don’t have refrigeration to store it chilled meat – where is all that chilled beef and/or sheep meat the Middle East is importing from animals stunned and Halal-slaughtered in Australia going? The chilled trade to the Middle East alone is worth 6-7 times what the entire live sheep trade is worth.

  32. john poynton, 31/05/2024

    Thank you for putting the humanitarian side to this important trade. The government does not have collectively the intellect to understand such a complex business and its importance to humanity,
    As you imply we are too well off in Australia , with abundance of food and farmers are taken for granted.
    This govt is anty Farmers , in fact any natural resourse managers. The last few years I have been thinking we need less farmers to create food shortages to wake the Govt up. i am at retirement and have some beautiful land but am thinking to alternative uses to help those who remain for the future. In ten years i think there will be alot less farmers around , the new generation will not tolerate the hardship our generation has had.
    You cant reason or put facts to a Govt driven by idealogy , rather than reality, and for the good of the Australian people and humanity.

  33. Alan Nicholson, 31/05/2024

    well said Byron you know how it works yet people that have no idea make th decisions without any thought to the welfare of people that depend on this industry and country people at all

  34. Ailsa McDonald, 31/05/2024

    Those who import do not have fridges and freezers as we do. It a humanitarian thing to feed the world

  35. Ross Forsyth, 31/05/2024

    It’s such a shame that the government listens to self serving lobby groups and bureaucrats who know nothing about this industry to have so much influence

  36. Ross Ainsworth, 31/05/2024

    Well said Byron. Keep up this important work.

  37. Katrina Love, 31/05/2024

    The simple fact remains that every animal welfare agency and every vet on the planet will agree that the best possible welfare outcome for animals who must be slaughtered for consumption is A/ to be stunned prior to throat cut so they are insensible and B/ to be slaughtered as close to “farm” as possible, with minimum transport.

    Sending 50,000 sheep who would otherwise at least be stunned in Australia and spared most of the transport, on a sea-going vessel for 14… 16… 70+ days to fully conscious throat-cut in the Middle East is the opposite to that good welfare outcome.

    • George King, 31/05/2024

      I appreciate your well founded concerns Katrina, if I can quote directly from Byron’s article below. How can we get better outcomes for animals, be they Australian sheep or sheep from another country if we are not involved in the trade?

      “If Australia is removed from this important trade, trade will still continue on, sheep will still come from countries such as Romania, Sudan and Somalia, but what is lost is the trade of information and influence of improving a supply chain for the good of all livestock through the system. I have not once in over a decade come across any person from another exporting country providing on the ground animal support for their trade partners.”

  38. Robert K Saunders, 31/05/2024

    Thanks for your insight, mate. Sounds like you’ve had a great experience in the industry. Unfortunately that is in stark contrast with what animals in live export experience. I agree that we have a crucial role to play in the global agricultural community. We must be advocates for sustainable ag, animal welfare, and responsible trade. Live sheep export does not support any of this. Australia cannot improve animal welfare or the quality of life of trade partner countries by participating in cruelty. But we can lead improvements in animal welfare standards and champion more sustainable development. Here’s to trade that fosters better animal welfare, better human lives, and a more sustainable future for us all – here’s to a future without live sheep export.

    • David Harrison, 31/05/2024

      You must have read a different article to the one I just read. Or you read it with your mind already made up and closed to the facts from the man who is living it.

    • George King, 31/05/2024

      G’day Robert, unlike Byron I suspect both of us have never been on a live export ship, I do understand the mortality rates on ships are 0.5% which speaks volumes of the quality of animal welfare on the ships. Any farmer would be proud of achieving such low mortality rates.

      The humans who rely on our live export and who also import our animal welfare standards won’t stop sourcing protein because of the ideologies of a wealthy and privileged citizens of another nation. They will continue to import animals from other countries without the world class standards we operate under. If we want to improve welfare we need to stay in the supply chain.

    • Alfred McDonald, 31/05/2024

      You obviously missed the whole complex explanation of the current live sheep export by sea and the importing vacillated inforstructure provided for these animals by the countries that we export to.

  39. Max Watts, 31/05/2024

    Articles such as this have to get out to the wider city populations, including young people who are approaching voting age. I am appalled at the uninformed opinions of our younger city generations. They do not seem to be aware of the realities of our agricultural industry.

  40. David Gray, 31/05/2024

    I was one of those people,now having a real insiders feel and a proper explanation why exporting is so important I may have changed my view on this live export of our sheep,thankyou for a unbiased view but an informative one.

  41. Jocelyn Lane, 31/05/2024

    So well written by someone who really knows this industry. Should be printed in all papers & a documentary on tv shows

  42. Loretta Carroll, 30/05/2024

    Excellent overview of this very important topic. Can we get this story published in all the city papers?

  43. George King, 30/05/2024

    Outstanding commentary Byron, this needs to be shared far and wide. Great work on all fronts.

  44. Jim Brennan, 30/05/2024

    How do we get this sort of message to the general population who are swamped by the noisy extremist minorities like PETA?

  45. Simon Wilkinson, 30/05/2024

    Dear Byron,
    Congratulations on your article. Very well articulated from your first hand knowledge and experiences.
    I do hope this is shared far and wide to those who (probably) don’t understand or appreciate food security.
    Regards
    Simon

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