Labor is calling for the live sheep trade to be phased out entirely in light of an inability to guarantee the safety of animals being exported. The Government must accept that current animal welfare standards don’t and can’t meet reasonable animal welfare conditions or community expectations. Our spokesperson, Joel Fitzgibbon has said we'll work in a bipartisan manner, and alongside the industry, to achieve a sustainable and ultimately profitable exit from live sheep exports.
When in Government, Labor established the strongest live trade and animal standards in the world. The current Government is failing to provide Australians with confidence in the management and regulation of our live export industry. The WA legislation prescribes up to 5 years imprisonment for animal welfare crimes and I completely support that. Anyone who breaches these laws should be prosecuted
The Coalition Government’s Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) which is supposed to monitor and regulate the movement of livestock along the supply chain is clearly failing. To this end Labor has called on the Government to appoint an independent Inspector General for Animal Welfare and Live Exports.
Labor had hoped that with strong independent regulation we could find a way to continue exports in a humane and efficient manner, however, when even the industry itself cannot commit to improved standards for live sheep exports we have come to the conclusion that we will transition out of live exporting and into emerging and local markets. It’s long overdue that we look at how we can add value to the meat industry in Australia, rather than to simply export live animals. This will create more jobs here and create high value products for export markets.
The Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill 2018 had passed the Senate with the support of Labor. It was unfortunate to see Government Members, Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson, who had previously indicated their support for ending live exports of sheep, vote against the Bill in the House of Representatives.
Animal welfare is not a second order issue, it is time for the Morrison Government to finally act. This must end. The Labor Opposition will continue to listen to the overwhelming community support for the end to the live sheep export industry.