Livestock Collective lobby forms to bridge city-country gap

Zach RelphCountryman
John Cunnington will head up the Livestock Collective as its director.
Camera IconJohn Cunnington will head up the Livestock Collective as its director. Credit: Josh Fernandes

An umbrella company overarching existing group The Sheep Collective is being championed as an avenue to bridge the city-rural divide threatening the nation’s livestock industries.

The Livestock Collective has been created in an effort to improve transparency along the sheep and cattle live export trades’ supply chains amid the rising animal activism movement.

The not-for-profit will oversee existing group The Sheep Collective, founded in the aftermath of last year’s Awassi Express drama, and soon-to-be-launched brand The Cattle Collective.

The Livestock Collective director John Cunnington, a Sheep Collective founding member, said the newly-established company aimed to shine a positive light on Australia’s livestock export industry.

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“It is going to be the holding company for the two subsidiary brands, The Sheep Collective and The Cattle Collective,” he said.

“We’ve set it up as a company with governance structure going out to our partners.”

The Cattle Collective will officially be unveiled at next month’s LIVEXchange event, an annual LiveCorp and Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council initiative, in Townsville on October 30-31.

Mr Cunnington said the brand aimed to outline the live cattle industry’s importance to northern Australia to city-based populations nationwide.

“The Cattle Collective’s whole purpose is to tell the story of the live export supply chain,” he said.

“Hopefully, it will bridge that rural-urban divide ... many city people have a distant or no relationship with rural communities and if that remains, they could turn their backs on the regions.”

Like The Sheep Collective, The Cattle Collective will involve producers, exporters and industry bodies along the supply chain to share untold stories in a bid to improve the trade’s transparency.

The Sheep Collective was launched in February, 10 months after footage from Emanuel Exports’ now-infamous Awassi Express voyage to the Middle East emerged showing dead and heat-stressed sheep.

Led by Emmanuel Exports corporate governance officer and livestock veterinarian Holly Ludeman, inset, the group has held multiple live export vessel tours at Fremantle Port to shine a light on the trade.

Dr Ludeman, The Livestock Collective’s managing director, said expanding the agricultural movement to shine a light on cattle producers was an important step.

“We always intended on telling the stories of our unique cattle industry,” she said.

Kate Bishop has been appointed to manage community engagement and communications.

Ms Bishop was raised at Lake Grace on her family’s sheep farm, attended WA College of Agriculture — Narrogin and also worked at Meat and Livestock Australia for three years.

The fifth-generation sheep producer, who joined the company last month after working at Racing and Wagering WA, said she was excited for the role.

“I’m familiar with the grassroots levels,” she said.

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