Live Export

WA meat processor backs retention of live sheep exports

Sheep Central June 26, 2024

WESTERN Australian sheep meat processor Hillside Meat Processors has today offered financial support for the Keep The Sheep campaign launched to retain live sheep exports by sea.

Keep the Sheep spokesperson Ben Sutherland said Hillside Meat Processors from Western Australia has thrown its support behind the Keep the Sheep campaign, donating $1 for every sheep sold over the hooks from its Narrogin facility during July.

Hillside Meat Processors general manager Cam Ferris said the company knows that a viable sheep flock in Western Australia needs live exports and onshore meat processing.

“This isn’t an either/or choice,” he said.

Hillside Meat Processors general manager Cam Ferris. Image – LinkedIn.

“What we do know is that if you take out the competition that live export provides for sheep farmers, we’ll have fewer sheep farmers and a smaller flock – plain and simple.

“That’s going to make it harder to run our local business,” Mr Ferris said in a Keep The Sheep media statement.

Hillside Meat Processors is owned by livestock exporter Livestock Shipping Services and runs two processing plants in Western Australia, at Narrogin and Malaga.

Mr. Sutherland welcomed Hillside’s support.

“Everyone in the industry – and we are one industry – knows how these pieces all fit together,” he said.

“You take one piece out and everyone suffers – the farmers, the shearers, the truckies, the livestock agents, and the regional towns that depend on a strong sheep and wool industry.

“Ultimately, all of Western Australia suffers for a few east coast votes,” he said.

“Minister, it is time to get your priorities right, listen to us and drop your vendetta against the WA sheep industry.”

ALEC welcomes Hillside support

Australian Livestock Exporters chief executive officer Mark Harvey-Sutton said Hillside’s support is demonstrating leadership.

“They understand, and this is what we have all been collectively saying right through this process, that for a viable sheep production industry that is sustainable you need multiple markets, including live exports.

“So that’s the meat processing, wool production and live exports,” he said.

“That’s what delivers value to the (sheep) sector and what also delivers value back to these businesses as well.

“So we commend Hillside for their support and at the end of the day we are a broader agricultural red meat industry, and it is extremely important that everyone works together to fight this policy that will be to the detriment of Western Australian sheep production.”

Mr Harvey-Sutton said Hillside’s support represented the first time the WA sheep meat processing sector had proactively come out in support of the live export trade.

“This whole debate has never been about an issue of live sheep exports versus sheep meat processing.

“We think the processing sector does a wonderful job and that’s ultimately to the benefit of everyone, but to my knowledge the processing sector has been in a really difficult position throughout this whole policy discussion.

“This would be, in my recollection, the first processor that has stepped forward in support of our industry.”

Mr Harvey-Sutton agreed that concerns about the live sheep phaseout policy has affected the confidence of the WA sheep industry to the extent of putting at risk the WA sheep flock, vital to the state’s sheep meat processors.

“The government has continued to perpetuate the lie that this policy is not impacting confidence in the Western Australian sheep market or indeed the national market, when we know that it has.

“The livestock market is like any market, and it runs on confidence and that has been of concern to many people.”

He said the Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee has predicted a decline in the EWA sheep flock from 12 million to about 7 million over the next four years.


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  1. Roy Gray, June 28, 2024

    I will have to give up farming all together because of live sheep export income is down 40 percent on sheep sales since it was announced. We cannot survive this Labor Government. They don’t want us, I’m sure. Good bye to four generations.

  2. Brett Edwards, June 28, 2024

    If they don’t save the sheep, nothing will save the Labor Government.

  3. Anne Hardy, June 28, 2024

    I support the end of the live sheep export trade. It’s not just the suffering on board the ships but the inhumane way they are killed when they arrive that would make anyone with an ounce of compassion sick. When I grew up in country NSW farming was about more than just the mighty dollar. I don’t know how these producers sleep at night. I wouldn’t call them farmers.

  4. Diane Davies, June 28, 2024

    Successful, established industries, such as sheep farming, should be built up by governments, not pulled down to nearly half capacity as it is predicted will happen. Animal welfare issues have been addressed in WA and on transport ships so there is no issue. Other nations with no animal welfare will therefore take all the benefits. How stupid is the Labor government to do this? Save our trade and hard working farmers.

  5. Peter Clark, June 27, 2024

    Australian taxpayers, go figure. About ten years ago the Australian government of the day, as I understand it, committed approximately $1 billion dollars in an attempt to revive a declining, if not floundering, car manufacturing industry, only to see the industry fail a short few years later. Now the current Australian government has announced it’s intention to spend $107 million dollars of taxpayers’ money to shut down a perfectly legitimate and profitable industry. Not only will the end of the live sheep trade rob the nation’s treasury of significant tax receipts, but also produce a net animal welfare loss. Let’s keep the sheep.
    Peter Clark.

  6. Daniel Tapper, June 27, 2024

    The live export of sheep and cattle should have been banned years go as barbaric and inhumane.

    • Rosslyn Hick, June 28, 2024

      It’s time people did some reading to see how well the improvements to the welfare of sheep have progressed. There is no problem, no suffering and no inhumanity. Stop jumping on the bandwagon of ignorance. Funny, because everyone will feel the consequences of this disgusting put down of a group of farmers. They are putting animals before humans — plain and simple — when there is absolutely no truth to their reasons.

  7. Jeremy Tai, June 26, 2024

    Murray Watt is from Queensland. Queensland is in trouble, and he will do what he can to save QLD Labor, even if that means sacrificing another industry to prop another up.
    I agree with the above comments. Unfortunately, Murray Watt does not think sheep farmers’ livelihoods matter. They have sold us out for what, minority votes? Whose running the agenda at Labor? Is it labor or the minority parties that are keen on the preference votes?

  8. Glenn Nix, June 26, 2024

    Katrina Love, tell us about extra jobs when the forecast is a fall in the flock from 12 to 7 million sheep? Tell a processor they’re wrong. I dare you. You have told everyone else they’re wrong, why not this guy?

    • Katrina Love, June 27, 2024

      What would be the point of arguing with a meat processor owned by LSS, who thinks live export should continue?

      • Glenn Nix, June 28, 2024

        Try finding anyone, somebody in any meat or transport or retail business, who thinks there will be more sheep in WA.

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