The WAFarmers Livestock Council is pleased with the recommendations announced by the Federal Government initiated review into the conditions for the export of sheep to the Middle East during Northern Hemisphere Summer.
Livestock Council President David Slade said that the Council have carefully reviewed the report and have accepted the recommendations provided by Dr McCarthy.
“It is important for the live sheep trade to continue, but to do so there are fundamental changes that were needed. The recommendations from the McCarthy Review are an excellent starting point, but it is imperative for everyone involved in this trade to step up and take responsibility needed to absolutely ensure all animals destined for export are treated in the most humane way possible,” he said.
“Irrespective of their country of origin or final market destination, all animals must be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Everyone in this trade has an obligation to ensure the welfare of all animals under their control.
“It is the responsibility of all regulators that the highest animal welfare standards during shipping activities are upheld and it is clear that this accountability has been lost. It is imperative that the regulators ensure the whole trade improves and endeavours to make the McCarthy recommendations the new minimum standard.
Mr Slade said the WAFarmers Livestock Council believes there needs to be more rigorous inspection of animals boarding vessels.
“Wether lines need to be more heavily scrutinised and closely inspected by farmers and exporters to identify any ewes that may have inadvertently been mixed in the line. Further to this, if any ewes are to be included in a shipment, we feel these animals should be pregnancy scanned by the exporter immediately prior to shipping to ensure no pregnant ewes are loaded onto the ship,” he said.
“The thorough implementation of the McCarthy Report recommendations should go a long way to reassuring farmers and the general public that the welfare of animals for live export will be protected.
“There is no doubt that the live export industry is at a crossroads but we are confident that the footage shown on 60 Minutes is not a true representation of the industry as a whole. The inclusion of independent observers on all ships will help ensure the transparency and accountability needed for the safe shipment of sheep to meet the needs of our customers in the Middle East.