Australians love farmers and the bush and they trust them…but the Awassi Express footage has really rocked confidence in Australian farm animal welfare. Add to that the fact that the usually conservative Australian Veterinary Association have stated publicly that sheep should not be exported to the ME by ship in a northern summer and that a 30% increase in space allowance is required for 40-60 kg Merino wethers on all ships to meet basic animal welfare standards voyages (a condition that is apparently not commercially viable), then clearly the Australian public has good reason to be questioning Australian commitment to farm animal welfare.
NZ stopped their live export trade on the basis of reputational risk. Can Australian farmers really risk their reputation both overseas and within Australia by demanding, against veterinary advice, that the live ex trade needs to be continued...in summer...and without a 30% space increase.....using Barnaby Joyce, of all people, to spruik their cause?
If farmers want to maintain consumer confidence, they really need to consider their “brand” very carefully in light of current veterinary recommendations.