All sheep-shape aboard the Al Messilah as lobby aims to quell live export fears

Zach RelphThe West Australian
Video7NEWS has been invited on WA's sheep carrier.

A sense of mystery still pervades WA’s troubled live sheep trade.

To address that, pro-live export group Sheep Collective yesterday conducted a media-only tour aboard the Al Messilah vessel in Fremantle before it departs tonight for the Middle East.

The 90-minute walk-through provided a rare glimpse of the live industry’s usually hidden supply chain, while the sector navigates uncertain waters after last April’s Awassi Express heat deaths scandal.

Emanuel Exports vet Holly Ludeman highlighted the need for transparency to guarantee the live trade’s future, as sheep slowly filtered from livestock trucks through loading ramps onto the Kuwaiti-owned vessel.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.

Every pen is equipped with food and water troughs
Camera IconEvery pen is equipped with food and water troughs Credit: Sharon Smith

Once aboard, the penned sheep — which have 17.5 per cent more space under new Federal Government law — are near ventilation systems providing fresh airflow.

Every pen is equipped with food and water troughs to ensure 66,500 sheep remain healthy during the two-week journey to Kuwait.

Nationals Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson, who had not set foot on a live sheep vessel previously, said building public trust was key to the sector’s survival.

“We can’t just have confidence, we have to see it for ourselves,” she said.

“We absolutely accept that we need to have transparency for people to have trust in this industry.”

The media expedition comes after the Sheep Collective held two vessel tours for politicians and producers at Fremantle in January and earlier this month.

Staff check the sheep as they are loaded.
Camera IconStaff check the sheep as they are loaded. Credit: Sharon Smith

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails