LIVE sheep exports to Bahrain resumed this week, almost two years after shipments were banned because of an animal welfare catastrophe.
The Kuwait-registered livestock carrier Al-Shuwaikh was loaded in Fremantle Monday with an estimated 80,000 sheep and 150 cattle.
The loading was inspected by federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce—a passionate fan of live exports—who slammed the Greens’ plan to ask federal parliament to ban the trade.
Freo-based Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says the trade costs jobs and is inhumane.
“Government policies have favoured live exports as opposed to doing something for the local community,” she says. “Abattoirs and meat-processing facilities have a 3.4 multiplier effect for jobs in rural economies, so it’s better for the local economy and better for the animals. And these are permanent jobs, not just work during the construction phase.”
Research from animal welfare agency WSPA shows frozen/chilled sheep meat exports skyrocketed from just over 1000 tonnes in 2009 to more than 13,000 last year. “This proves that countries will take frozen sheep meat so it follows that if live exports are banned then the frozen/chilled market will grow,” Ms MacLaren says. “(This trade) is like digging it up and shipping it off—there is no value-adding. This is an argument for local manufacturing.”
Stop Live Exports campaign manager Katrina Love says the meat export increase shows the ban had worked: 13,000 tonnes equated to more than 600,000 sheep slaughtered in Australia, to Australian standards.
by EDDIE ALBRECHT