AUSTRALIA’S largest live sheep exporter, Western Australian-based Emanuel Exports, this afternoon had its export licence suspended by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
The department said the licence will remain suspended pending a full review of the company’s response to a show cause notice.
The announcement was greeted by RSPCA Australia as a step toward the end of long-haul live sheep exports and WAFarmers said it supported the investigation of any company who is suspected of the intent to cause cruelty in such a way that animal welfare standards are compromised.
The suspension comes just weeks after the department began investigating Emanuel Exports’ involvement in the death of more than 2400 sheep on the Awassi Express en route to the Middle East in August last year. It also follows the search of Emanuel Exports’ Perth offices by WA authorities also investigating the exporter’s licence conditions.
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Emanuel Exports director Nicholas Daws said the company will cooperate fully with the department in its review.
“It is not appropriate to provide any further public comment until the department has completed its review.”
The department said the laws that regulate the export of livestock include strict requirements to ensure the health and welfare of animals.
“It is the responsibility of each exporter to ensure it meets those obligations.
“The department takes those responsibilities very seriously,” the DAWR statement said.
“It is not appropriate for the department to provide more information while the investigation is ongoing.”
RSPCA sees suspension as step toward ending live exports
RSPCA Australia senior policy officer Dr Jed Goodfellow said the suspension is “another step toward the inevitable end of cruel long-haul live sheep exports”.
“Now is the time for government to put the best interests of Australian sheep producers and animals first, to provide certainty for the future, and legislate for an orderly phase-out,’ he said.
“Make no mistake, Emanuel’s is not the exception.
“What we saw in the 60 Minutes footage included routine conditions across multiple voyages,” he said.
“This is what long-haul live sheep export looks like, and it must not continue.
“We understand there are sheep currently held in Fremantle that were to be boarded on the Al Shuwaikh, due to arrive any day,” Dr Goodfellow said.
“We expect these sheep have now been saved from a horrendous ordeal, and will be processed locally in accordance with Australian standards, with the utmost concern for their welfare.
WAFarmers confident DAWR will ensure trade continues
WAFarmers president Tony York said the body is confident that Emanuel Exports will work collaboratively with the department through this process until it is complete.
“WAFarmers supports any activity to improve animal welfare outcomes across our sectors.
“Bearing that in mind, we are also supportive of the continuation of the live sheep trade and its ongoing improvement,” he said.
“WAFarmers is confident that the department will take the appropriate measures to ensure the trade can continue whilst improving on-board conditions for animals and ensuring our clients’ needs are met.”
WAFarmers said it is keenly anticipating the results from the regulatory review that federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud initiated upon his own department. Regardless of this review and its results, WAFarmers supports the investigation of any company who is suspected of the intent to cause cruelty in such a way that animal welfare standards are compromised, the peak WA farmer body said.
Mr York said he understood the current investigation is in its initial phases.
“It is obviously very early days and there will be more detail of the suspension to come.
“We must allow the department and the investigation to take its due course,” he said.
Emanuel Exports a pioneer in livestock exports
In a background statement, Emanuel Exports said it was a pioneer of the Australian livestock export trade, specialising in the live export of sheep and cattle.
Founded in 1955, and holding Export License No 6, Emanuel Exports is one of Australia’s largest livestock exporters, and Australia’s largest exporter of live sheep, exporting well in excess of one million sheep per year to the Middle East. The company’s first Middle East sheep shipment left Fremantle in 1963, destined for Kuwait, the statement said.
The company said it is a vertically integrated business and is considered a world leader in the selection, preparation, handling, management and supply of high quality livestock to global markets.
The company’s operations and management expand across all states of Australia and are overseen by a strict quality assurance program that meets customer specifications as well as meeting all requirements under relevant state and territory legislation and those defined under Australian Government legislation (the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock – ASEL), the Emanuel statement said.
Clearly no point commenting here. It seems one has to be on the side of the exporters to get a hearing. Oh well, so be it – the industry clearly is now being called to account as a result of public outrage over how animals are treated in the live trade and have been treated for decades. Now the images are out, no-one will ever again believe anything the industry says about its world’s best practice. If that is its best practice, 9606 sheep dead of heat stress in just three voyages, then clearly the industry has totally lost its moral compass. A one-off — That is simply just and out and out lie. What we saw is not a one-off, it is commonplace. Never again will the wool be pulled over the eyes of the public, the images are there for the whole world to see. As for calling Pauline Hanson over to inspect the facilities — what she thinks that will tell her about on-board conditions beats me. Please explain somebody.