Inquiry fears held for live sheep, goat exports

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

WA farmers fear a review into Australia’s $1.8 billion live export industry could bring other industries into the firing line.

Pastoralist and Graziers Association (PGA) pastoral and livestock executive officer Ian Randles said further export bans could occur if a review into the trade turned up more damning evidence.

“The Federal Government has used their powers to stop the exports and this shows they could stop the export of anything they find undesirable,” he said.

“Now there has been a review ordered for not only cattle to Indonesia, but also the export of all animals; all species, all destinations, all markets.

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“What will the review find out? What will they recommend?

“Considering their action to the live trade to Indonesia was a six-month suspension, if they review all species, it is a real risk to other industries.”

WA sheep producers feared the $300 million live sheep export trade had been put under threat by an independent inquiry into live exports.

Boddington sheep farmer Simon Kelsall said a ban on sheep exports would rub salt into the wounds of drought-stricken farmers, but he was resigned to the live sheep trade being under threat.

“There’s probably a group out there now trying to stop it,” Mr Kelsall said.

PGA goat meat industry chairman David Steadman feared live goat exports would also come under fire by animal activist in the review.

“Everything (industries) outside of cattle should be very worried,” he said.

“The animal rights groups are totally convinced that the entire industry must be closed down and we are very worried about that.

“Once they have rolled one market then it’s onto the remainder of the cattle markets and then all live animal exports.”

Australia exports about 100,000 goats per year via ships and aircraft, primarily to Malaysia and Singapore.

Mr Randles said the live trade review was a sign that the Government was out of touch with the industry because it was only investigating animals being exported for slaughter.

“They are reviewing just cattle for slaughter,” he said.

“They haven’t thought of other welfare issues that might come with shipping other animals like breeding and dairy stock.”

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