Export furore

CLAIMS by the RSPCA that live animal exporters are secretly loading animals at night has been shot down by one of the industry’s most ardent opponents; Stop Live Exports.

The RSPCA had been trying to ramp up pressure on the industry after last Sunday’s devastating 60 Minutes expose which revealed horrific conditions aboard the live sheep carrier Awassi Express, which travels regularly from Fremantle to the Middle East.

“In what appears to be a secret effort to export sheep away from public scrutiny, it comes as both the live export and Australia government claim commitment to improving animal welfare and greater transparency,” the association stated on Wednesday.

The RSPCA also called for a total ban on live exports.

But while supporting that aim, Freo’s Stop Live Exports says there’s been no clandestine loading, with the ship in question, the MV Maysora, loading day and night before departing on Wednesday night.

And SLE would know; it’s been holding a virtual vigil over the Awassi Express after it was banned by the Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) from leaving port with an expected 65,000 sheep after failing to meet safety standards. As of Thursday evening it was still tied up at the passenger terminal where sheep loading is not possible.

“If a tug boat so much as approaches it, we will let you know,” SLE told follows.

The ship was held up as federal agriculture minister David Littleproud announced a “short, sharp” review of live exports.

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