Media statement live animal exports
05 April 2018
Last Thursday I received an incident report from the Department of Agriculture about a voyage involving live sheep to the Middle East in August 2017.
I immediately requested an urgent briefing from the Department and wrote to industry asking what research they've undertaken about high heat mortalities.
Yesterday I saw vision supplied to my office by Animals Australia.
Animals Australia indicate the vision is of live shipments of sheep sent from Perth into parts of the Middle East during 2016 and 2017.
I'm shocked and deeply disturbed by the vision.
I thank Animals Australia for bringing this to my attention.
We need to create an environment where groups, whistleblowers and individuals are comfortable and confident coming forward so we can nail those who do the wrong thing.
As I've said many times since becoming Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources in December 2017, we need compliance with laws across all industries to give us integrity. This requires exporters, the industry and the regulator (the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources) to fulfil their full responsibilities. I will not be afraid to call out and take strong action against those who have not fulfilled their responsibilities, whether they be the exporter, the regulator or staff on ships.
I support the farmers who rely on live export and the exporters who do the right thing. We need this trade for our farmers. Farmers care for their animals and they'll be angry and hurt when they see this footage. We need this trade to be conducted properly and sustainably for our farmers for whom the live trade provides a vital market, as well as for the animals themselves.
I've met with the Department of Agriculture today and it will urgently investigate information it is due to receive this afternoon. I'll have more to say as more information comes to hand.