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Sheep shipment halted with EMS Rural Exports licence suspension

by Terry Sim, 12 July 2018

AUSTRALIA’S Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has suspended the live export licence of another company planning a sheep shipment.

The live export regulator released news of the suspension overnight, saying it would remain in place pending a full review.

The department did not identify the company, but Emanuel Exports has confirmed the licence of its subsidiary EMS Rural Exports was suspended overnight.

Emanuel Exports director Nicholas Daws said the company will cooperate fully with the department’s review, but added it is not appropriate to provide any further public comment until it is completed.

The latest suspension comes about three weeks after Emanuel Exports’ export licence was suspended pending a full review of the company’s response to a show cause notice.

The Emanuel Exports’ suspension on June 22 followed the death of more than 2400 sheep on the Awassi Express en route to the Middle East in August last year. It also followed the search of Emanuel Exports’ Perth offices by WA authorities also investigating the exporter’s licence conditions.

Since the Emanuel Exports’ licence suspension, the company has been attempting to organise the export of up to 60,000 sheep in a pre-export feedlot near Perth under another export licence. The company had intended to use the licence of its subsidiary EMS Rural Exports; however, animal rights group Animals Australia had threatened a Federal Court injunction if the department gave Emanuel export approval via its subsidiary’s licence.

Animals Australia chief investigator Lyn White welcomed the department’s latest suspension decision and said the body was prepared to press ahead with its court injunction.

“It remains our view that the regulatory requirements as to health and welfare cannot be met during the height of the Middle East summer and as such, any export permit granted would be unlawful.”

In a statement last night, the department said it is not appropriate for the department to provide more information about the latest licence suspension while the investigation is ongoing.

Sheep that had been due for export remain in a registered feedlot, the department said. The sheep have been inspected by the department’s veterinarians; they are in good health and well-cared for.

The department said arrangements for these animals remain the responsibility of the exporter and exporters are also responsible for ensuring they meet all animal welfare requirements imposed under Commonwealth and state law.

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