WESTERN Australian live exporter Emanuel Exports and subsidiary EMS Rural Exports will continue to seek reversal of their licence cancellations after a criminal investigation into it over sheep losses during Middle East shipments in 2017 was dropped.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment cancelled the export licences of Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd on 21 August 2018, and EMS Rural Exports Pty Ltd on 5 September 2018, and began an investigation into sheep losses on various voyages.
In 2017, both companies exported livestock in Awassi Express shipments and after a detailed investigation, the department submitted a brief of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) for consideration of whether the evidence obtained was sufficient to justify the prosecution of the export companies and company director involved.
The department this week said following careful consideration of all the available evidence in accordance with the prosecution policy of the Commonwealth, the CDPP concluded that it could not be satisfied that there were reasonable prospects of conviction of those alleged to have been involved.
Emanuel Exports managing director Nicholas Daws said the company welcomed the department announcement on the CDPP investigation and that charges will not be laid.
“As a family business that has provided protein to families around the world for over 50 years, I believe there is a positive future for the live export industry with Australia as world leaders in animal welfare, technology and innovation.”
Mr Daws said the accelerated improvements implemented by the live export industry in the last 15 months have demonstrated an industry that is viable and sustainable.
“In the current COVID-19 environment we are seeing how important this trade is especially to the Gulf region.”
Mr Daws said the last two years have been very difficult for the family business and personally.
“We remain committed to our rural communities and stakeholders in the Western Australian sheep industry.
“Animal welfare is the core of our business,” he said.
“Emanuel Exports continues to appeal the cancellation of its export licence and makes no further media comment, pending the outcome of this appeal.”
A departmental spokesperson said the CDPP decision does not directly impact on administrative decisions made by the department, but would not comment on why the CDPP was not satisfied that there were reasonable prospects of conviction of those alleged to have been involved.
“The decision to cancel the export licences is currently before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.”
Animals Australia chief investigator Lyn White said the body was not privy to the information or facts that underpinned the CDPP criminal investigation, therefore we are not in a position to comment.
“Our focus, as ever, remains on ensuring the welfare of animals, so we are pleased that the three month ban on shipping sheep during the Middle East summer has now been formalised,” she said.