The Australian Livestock Exporters Association has issued a statement overnight in response to allegations aired on ABC's 7:30 program last night that a live exporter may have falsified export documents, flouting laws designed to protect animal welfare.
The program last night reported that Australian exporter Wellard Rural Exports called in police to investigate allegations that documents were falsified by a former employee to deliver suspected disease sheep to Pakistan.
This is the ALEC statement:
The serious allegations of criminal misconduct in the livestock export trade which aired tonight on the 7.30 Report are of grave concern to the sector, the CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, Alison Penfold said tonight.
“We support the investigation currently being carried out by the Investigations and Enforcement Unit of the Department of Agriculture. Any outcomes or recommendations of this investigation will be closely considered by the industry’s peak industry body. Flagrant breaches of the laws governing the trade will not be tolerated.
“A person named tonight in the allegations, Mr Garry Robinson, has voluntarily stepped aside as a Director of ALEC while the allegations are investigated and dealt with. It is important to note that all parties and individuals implicated are due natural justice and procedural fairness during the investigation process.
“In relation to the brutal treatment of livestock in Gaza, industry remains concerned that livestock in that market continue to be treated appallingly and in a manner that has no place in the livestock export trade. These events reflect poorly on our industry. They also cause members of the Australian community to question our commitment to the delivery of animal welfare and our position in leading animal welfare improvements internationally.
“We remain firmly committed to rooting out such treatment of Australian livestock through our actions and through our responsibility for welfare along the supply chain”, Ms Penfold said.
The exporter in question, LSS, has taken steps since October 2013 when the last shipment of livestock was exported to Gaza to ensure all remaining livestock are treated and slaughtered humanely. Gaining access to supply chain facilities have been challenging in the face of recent political difficulties in the region but recent access has been granted to enable specialist consultants to carry out the necessary remediation strategies.