The story of the rejected shipment of Australian sheep on the Ocean Drover continues to unfold. Pakistan has been confirmed as the destination for the Australian sheep. It would also appear that DAFF are trying to distract from the failed Memoranda of Understanding by saying that ‘diverting’ to Karachi has always been part of the risk assessment protocol produced by the exporter as a condition of the export permit, a most unlikely possibility.
This incident underlines the fundamentally flawed regulatory framework that the Government has constructed for live export. As Wellard (the exporter) has been at pains to emphasise, as soon as the sheep are on the ship they belong to the importer. It is naïve to suggest that Australian legislation could or would be applied to an importer in a foreign country. Equally how could an Australian court hold an exporter responsible for cruelty to animals which belong to sometime else in a foreign country? The ESCAS system has been sold to the Australian public as some sort of guarantee of animal welfare standards. It is not. It is yet another cynical exercise in deception.