The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the case against Western Australian live export company Emanuel Exports over the deaths of 2400 sheep from heat stress on a voyage to the Middle East five years ago is to be dropped just days before it was due to go to trial. Apparently its just not a good use of taxpayer money.
Jed Goodfellow from the Australian Alliance for Animals was quoted as saying: “Is the government saying it is too expensive to uphold the law when it comes to animal cruelty? ... It’s essentially saying that if a defendant has deep pockets, they’ll get a free pass on alleged breaches of the law ... It simply doesn’t add up."
Of course it doesn't add up. It's live export. Live exporters are just businessmen and animals are just commodities.
Australian Standards: world's best? Sure – but this shows that they are absolutely and totally unenforceable.
The link between bottomed out sheep prices and the federal government’s plans to phase out live sheep exports by sea has been quashed by the nation’s top ag research bureau.
According to The Weekly Times, ABARES executive director Jared Greenville said the falling prices were more directly attributable to market oversupply following restocking over recent good seasons, rather than industry claims it was due to a looming ban on the trade. He was quoted as saying “That is not the case, there is clearly underlying drivers in this market that we’re seeing in the east, not just in the west (where the majority of Australia’s live sheep exports by sea farmers are based),” he said.
Mecardo market analyst Angus Brown backed up Dr Greenville’s comments
and Elders national livestock manager Peter Homann said sheep prices in Western Australia were currently better than in the east, so the prices were not linked to the phasing out of live sheep exports though it was another factor to be concerned about.
Maybe the WA farmers hopping up and down in the media are distorting the current market situation to their own advantage...again.
Labor has paid $319k to a private company, Episode 3, to advise on the phase-out of live sheep exports. This is a company whose own directors have publicly campaigned to oppose the phase-out. It is also a company whose economic reports into the live export trade have not stood up to independent academic analysis and scrutiny.
This isnt a case of listening to a variety of views as was suggested in the Senate. This was supposedly paid economic expert advice. The independent panel was put there to be independent but they will likely base their decisions on the extremely expensive taxpayer funder advice (it so does pay to be pro live export!) from this exporter based and biased company.
See Senate Estimates: https://www.facebook.com/mehreenfaruqi/videos/1558836791597076/?mibextid=zDhOQc
In the Have Your Say for the new ASEL, VALE discovered that the long held food requirements for cattle (2.5%) was inadequate for young dairy heifers (200-270kg). 3% minimum is required for this class of cattle. VALE was so concerned that it took the unusual step of writing to the Chief Veterinary Officer in addition to its ASEL submission.
Update: CVO response underwhelming and the Dept REDUCES the cattle food requirement to 2% for all cattle >250kg (unless pregnant or a breeding heifer with six or fewer permanent incisor teeth). 2.5% was the bare minimum recommended by the MLA in their own report and now Dept in its wisdom has reduced it beyond that..
What is worse, is that despite the finding that 63% of voyage durations were underestimated the new Standards had reduced the fodder reserve for voyages under 15 days.
Not enough fodder loaded for the number of days plus not enough fodder/animal/day = STARVATION. Oh sure Australia has the world's best animal welfare standards.
See: Willis 2011p 17: MLA recommendation was made to modify the ASEL wording of “minimum 2.5% bodyweight” to >2.5%
Last week, Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry first assistant secretary – Andrew McDonald told Senate Estimates that on 27 September DAFF approved Emanuel Exports as having the necessary ESCAS arrangements in place to export sheep into Saudi Arabia.
Sheep Central reported that when asked if he was satisfied that Emanuel Exports is suitable, Mr McDonald said: “We look at the suitability of all companies to be a registered exporter and this company has had a history around our regulatory arrangements that we are now satisfied.”
Hmm...this company is facing court for alleged animal cruelty in WA this month and has a long list of ESCAS non-compliance incidents documented by DAFF, including, in 2023, the well documented and filmed incidents in Oman. One wonders what it would take for DAFF to reject an exporter as unsuitable....
Due to conflict in the Middle East, the Dept has suspended the IO program. No IOs are to be risked ....vets and stockies dont matter of course. As for the animals? Well a loaded ship, MV Bahijah has been allowed to leave Fremantle this week. This was despite grave shipping dangers reported in Israel (https://splash247.com/ships-advised-to-wait-further-offshore-as-rockets-rain-down-around-israel/ ). Rocket attacks have been reported at Ashdod and the Red Sea port city of Eilat, the intended port for this voyage. Surely this is madness just for the personnel on board, even if the government doesnt care about the animals. Live export at all cost from this country!
The NZ Nationals have received strong criticism from Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Aotearoa (VAWA) over their assertion that they will reinstate live export.
Managing Director of VAWA (and former President of the New Zealand Veterinary Association) Dr Helen Beattie is reported by Scoop NZ as saying "Having set a lauded global precedent and prioritising the welfare the animals, overturning the Labour Government’s brave and ethical decision to ban livestock exports by sea, would be a reckless regression." It "makes even less sense given the recent dairy downturn was reported in part to be driven by lower Chinese demand for our milk powder - their dairy herd is now bigger than ours and many of those cows came from New Zealand."
And similar to Australia: "Contrary to their claims of economic prosperity generated from the trade, the livestock exports industry makes up less than 0.5% of Aotearoa’s agriculture export revenue, though that small amount does make a lot of money for a few people. It is no surprise then that those are the voices that we hear advocating to reinstate the trade, despite the risk to our animals and to our high welfare, ethical, pastoral farming narrative."
Lets hope good sense, NZ's stellar international reputation and its strong ethics prevail!
The Midwest Times reports that a call has been made for State Agriculture Minister Jackie Jarvis to use her “ministerial authority” to drop animal cruelty charges against Emanuel Exports, in a bid to show support for the live sheep export trade.
Federal Liberal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson penned a letter on October 13, calling for Ms Jarvis to end the five-year case of alleged animal cruelty against Emanuel Exports, following the Awassi Express incident in the Persian Gulf in 2017, in which 2400 sheep died from heat stress.
And live ex has social licence? Mr Wilson seems to have forgotten there was footage from multiple voyages - all with similar issues. The court will have to decide whether Emanuel Exports is guilty or not but for a politician to request charges be dropped just to show support for a trade is outrageous. It was this affair that led to the predicament that WA farmers currently face...the end of the live sheep export trade. Congratulations Jackie Jarvis for resisting this ridiculous request and shame on Rick Wilson for asking. Would he ask that WA drink driving charges be dropped to support the WA Liquor industry?
Cattle exporter South East Asian Livestock Services surrendered its Australian export license to shore up the company after soaring compliance and operational costs hit the industry, and a plan to expand delivery into China failed to materialise.
SEALS general manager Simon Hopwood said the company made the call at the end of June, after reviewing group operations and having navigated high livestock prices, increased costs, supply chain pressures and significant disruption caused by COVID-19.
SEALS features regularly in high mortality voyages reports (See Voyages 82 - major non-compliance with ASEL - , 83 and 85) and some of these mortalities were due to outright non-compliance with ASEL. No tears to be shed over this company bowing out!
The NZ company, Genetic Developments (NZ) Exports Limited Partnerships went into liquidation in 2022 when the Al Kuwait broke down at sea. Scoop reported at the time: "A planned export of 12,300 cattle organised by Genetic Development Exports Limited Partnership failed after the livestock carrier Al Kuwait broke down en route to Aotearoa.The delay resulted in subsequent animal welfare problems. Pregnant cows lost so much weight their calves had to be aborted by a vet."
The liquidators are now apparently taking the shipping company to court.....but this whole incident exposes the fragility of this risky industry (not to mention its animal welfare impact).