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Sheep Producers Australia statement I Response to the ABC article and 7.30pm Report

28 Aug 2023

Sheep Producers Australia is aware of the ABC 7.30 Report online article and television report. We acknowledge that the images and footage is extremely confronting, and the handling of livestock is unacceptable. We have requested that the ABC includes mental health and crisis support details to the online article and programme.

Sheep Producers Australia continues to support a sustainable and regulated live export trade based on evidence-based science that is supported by both the Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) for Australian livestock, and the Livestock Global Assurance Program (LGAP).

Live export provides an important risk management tool for sheep producers and our Australian livestock supports communities overseas by providing food security and employment. The demand for live animals is a complex international issue based on socioeconomics, religion, food security and sovereignty. Our animals help ensure families have safe, quality protein.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is currently investigating the allegations of leakage within Oman and the footage that was provided to the department 11 weeks ago. If footage has been withheld from the department and instead provided to media that is of great concern and has potentially increased the risk of ongoing animal welfare issues.

Australian sheep have not been exported into Oman since the leakage was reported and once the investigation is complete there will be an opportunity to make decisions as to the future of exporting into this market. Australia is the only country that regulates animal welfare standards in other countries and invests in training and auditing to ensure those standards are met.

Sheep Producers Australia provided a submission to the consultation panel and our contribution to this consultation process does not indicate support for the current Australian Government policy to phase out live sheep exports by sea. This submission here provides both industry context and the consequences that would occur if the Government implemented its policy to phase out live sheep export by sea. This approach has been taken to illustrate the critical role that the live sheep export industry plays in driving farmgate competition and, ultimately, a sustainable sheep industry.

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