No ban on Australian live export: Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney says changes balance animal welfare while protecting farmers’ interests

Geraldton Guardian
VideoReview into live exporting recommends sheep numbers be reduced

Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney today welcomed changes to regulation of the live export industry, saying they support animal welfare and farming without resorting to a northern summer export ban.

Mr Blayney, who is WA’s shadow minister for agriculture and food, said the Federal Government had accepted all 23 recommendations of the McCarthy Review aimed at improving animal welfare and reducing heat stress.

He said the approach, which assessed the risk of heat stress rather than mortality, was more appropriate.

“The appointment of an independent regulator to provide oversight and further assessment seems to be a practical way forward to me and will provide some certainty to the industry that this trade can continue,” he said.

“No-one who watched the footage of distressed and dying sheep could fail to be shocked by their circumstance.

“Reducing the stocking density by up to 28 per cent will give sheep 39 per cent more space.”

Mr Blayney welcomed tough new penalties for exporters who put profits before livestock welfare.

“I am also pleased independent observers will be placed on every voyage carrying either sheep or cattle, reporting back daily to the Independent Regulator,” he said.

“I am confident that the independent audit of on-board ship ventilation systems being done before the calculation of acceptable stocking density, is a way to judge each ship’s ventilation independently, which is very important.”

Mr Blayney said the McCarthy report’s recommendations would deliver a significant change in the approach to animal welfare and would provide a strong incentive for exporters to invest in improving live export boats.

“Dr McCarthy’s review provides a framework for the humane transport of animals to our trading partners overseas, and supports our Western Australian farmers who rely on this trade, without need for a northern summer ban,” he said.

A media storm erupted last month when activist group Animals Australia released video showing piles of dead sheep and animals in cramped conditions and gasping for air on a live export ship.

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