WA live exporter Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) recently condemned the McCarthy Review in a letter to the West Australian newspaper ‘No rigour in live export moves’.
VALE and many other advocacy groups were not satisfied with the Review recommendations, which ignored the AVA recommendation to discontinue sheep export to the Middle East in the northern summer months. LSS Livestock Manager Harold Sealy, however, appeared to object to the paltry 30% reduction in stocking density during northern summer months. He also condemned the Review as being only one person’s view, completed in 28 days, and stated that the Review had crippled the export of sheep from WA.
VALE submitted a letter to the editor to highlight that Dr McCarthy was appointed based on his long experience in the live export trade, suggesting that he had credibility within the industry. At the time, his appointment was condemned by animal advocates but not a squeak was heard from live exporters.
VALE’s letter was not published, but David Littleproud’s strong response makes it clear that Mr Sealy’s claims and criticisms are baseless.
VALE meets with Philip Moss to discuss the federal regulator
VALE was granted a meeting with Philip Moss in Perth in May as part of the Review of capability and culture in the regulation of live animal exports by the federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). VALE provided key documents and information pertaining to the inadequacies of the Department to effectively regulate the trade including:
Other VALE members with experience in the live export trade also contacted and met with Mr Moss independently.
- Numerous examples of the failure of the Department to act despite notification of breaches of laws
- Failure to correctly or appropriately analyse mortality data (high & routine)
- Failure of the Department to respond to requests
- Failure of the Export Division to implement Australia’s National Anti-microbial Resistance Policy
The Review report is due to be provided to Minister Littleproud by 24 August.
Federal Department of Agriculture admits unlawful action
While the Moss Review is in its final stages of completion, the Department has admitted to unlawfully issuing an export permit in June to Emanuel Exports, adding further evidence of its inadequacy as a regulator. Animals Australia submitted a case questioning the legality of the Department granting the permit on 6 June. The Department’s Assistant Secretary Narelle Clegg issued the permit but when investigated it was found that she did not have the proper authority to do so. The company at the centre of the live sheep trade scandal then had a second export licence suspended by the Department. Emanuel Exports' sister company, EMS Rural, had applied for a permit to send Emanuel’s sheep to the Middle East.
Emanuel clearly thought they could try out their RETWA/Emanuels 2003 sidestep moveagain, but DAWR, perhaps frightened by the spotlight on its repetitive failings or Animals Australia's legal threats, didn't fall for it this time.
Those that went ...
A total of six live sheep shipments have been issued permits since 8 April, carrying over 300,000 sheep. Based on the evidence (e.g. legality of issued permits), none of these voyages should have departed Australia.
12 April Maysora to Turkey
30 April Al Messilah to Kuwait
3 May Bader III to Israel and Jordan
16 May Al Shuwaikh to Kuwait
1 June Maysora to Turkey
6 June Al Messilah to Kuwait
However, on the bright side ...
Those that were granted a reprieve …
Emanuel Exports had its licence to export suspended in June, EMS Rural had a temporary licence suspension in July and the other major sheep exporter, LSS, pulled out of the summer trade, citing as a reason the 30% increase space allowance (albeit they didn't export sheep in summer last year either according to David Littleproud). Phoenix Export (WA export division of Harmony Agriculture and Food Company) cancelled its planned sheep export consignments for late July and ruled out taking Emanuel’s stranded sheep to the Middle East. And AA’s injunction threats hang over the possibility of any other exporter taking sheep to the ME in the northern summer. Australian sheep have finally had a reprieve from their horror ME summer voyages.
Not too late to contact your federal MP
With federal Parliament due to recommence on 13 August, please contact your local MP, irrespective of their party, to urge them to support Sussan Ley’s Bill Long Haul Live Sheep Export Prohibition Bill, which had a 1st and 2nd reading on 21 May with subsequent debate by 7 MPs in late June. This Bill amends the Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Act 1997 to insert a new Section 16A which states that:
A livestock export licence is subject to a condition:-
that livestock that are sheep and lambs must not be exported from Australia, by ship, to:
A place in the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea – or any other place if the route is through the Persian Gulf or Red Sea…
in a July, August or September, in the transition period, or at any time after the end of that period, if the duration of that voyage is ten days or more. The transition period is five years.
It is expected that debate will continue in August, so if you haven’t already contacted your local federal MP, please do so without delay. With continued pressure, it is hoped that the live sheep trade will cease.
The two VALE factsheets “Key facts of live sheep export” and “Heat stress in sheep” provide helpful information.
The VALE team