Ludwig turns to sheep exports reform

Industry working group to be formed but make-up is unclear

July 14, 2011

Hot on the heels of the live cattle export ban and resumption, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has moved to tighten regulations
for the live sheep export supply chain.

An "industry government working group" will be created to oversee reforms.

It is understood that, at this early stage, the working group’s make-up is being decided, so what transport representation it will have is not clear.

Ludwig slammed live export oversight yesterday.

"Self regulation for this industry has been a failure," Ludwig says.

"This failure has required the government to step in and regulate the conduct of the industry throughout the supply chain from the paddock in Australia to processing in international facilities."

In response to critical media coverage, he released correspondence with the Australian Livestock Exporters Council that had been tabled in Parliament on July 4.

Dated January 17 and March 21, they show the export livestock welfare issue had been on the minister’s agenda since last year at least.

The earlier letter raises live-sheep concerns and notes Kuwait and Bahrain footage from the ABC’s 7.30 Report aired on December 1.

This week’s meeting was held in Perth and involved Western Australian Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman, along with LiveCorp, Meat and Livestock Australia, the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, the West Australian Live Exporters Association, the Goat Industry of Australia and other exporters.

The working group’s aim is to "develop robust supply chain measures to protect the welfare of live sheep exported from Australia", based on World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) guidelines, according to a communiqué released afterwards.

It is to report to Ludwig on July 31 with new standards that will include traceability of sheep through the supply chain.

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