MORE than 1000 people are expected at a public forum in Western Australia on Friday to discuss strategies to continue the live sheep trade and highlight the impacts of the current shipment suspension.
WAFarmers has invited a wide range of industry stakeholders to the forum at the Katanning Leisure Centre from 1.30-4pm, including Federal and state politicians, exporters and farmers.
Organisers said animal rights activists have enquired about the event and police will attend to monitor the forum and expected live export protesters.
The proposed forum follows the approval and then suspension by live trade regulator the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources of export licences held by Emanuel Exports and its subsidiary EMS Rural Exports.
The suspensions have left about 60,000 sheep in a feedlot outside Perth and have led to another Harmony Agriculture and Food Company’s export division Phoenix Exports reviewing plans for a Middle East shipment.
A WAFarmers statement last week said that explanations from the office of Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud’s office led it to understand that if an export licence upholding the guidelines and restrictions currently in place was granted, legal action mooted by Animals Australia would not stop that licensed shipment proceeding.
WAFarmers believed there would be support for any exporter prepared to work under the recommended summer month guidelines and it has urged the department to find a speedy resolution to the trade’s issues. The sooner there is definitive guidance allowing producers to act upon management options the better, WAFarmers said.
However, WAFarmers president Tony York said the Animals Australia threat of legal action if a sheep export licence was approved is hanging over the industry and clarification on the validity of the AA legal stance was needed.
“The industry wants to know what the outcome would be before they do anymore shipping,” he said.
Mr Littleproud has been invited to the forum, but will be on a trade tour of the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The WA Minister for Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan will attend, along with several other politicians, including Liberals Rick Wilson and Jim Chown; Nationals Mia Davis, Colin DeGrussa and Peter Rundell, and; the Shooter’s Party’s Rick Mazza.