Sheep farmers have welcomed the release of the McCarthy review in to live-sheep exporting which recommends tougher restrictions but no ban.
“Just more than a month ago, I saw footage that shocked and angered me and all Australians.
“The community was understandably outraged. It was time this industry became transparent and accountable,” Minister for Agriculture, MP David Littleproud said when he announced the report last week.
“I immediately called a short, sharp review of the live sheep trade into the Middle Eastern summer. I called on others to wait for the science and the evidence. I waited, and now I have it and I am acting,” he said..
“The McCarthy Review calls for a major overhaul of the live sheep trade during the Middle Eastern summer. It will be delivered. The live sheep export trade is in for significant change. The reportable mortality level will be halved now from two to one per cent, which means if more than one per cent of sheep die it must be reported immediately and investigated.
“In the past, the independent regulator has used the sheep deaths as the indicator of animal welfare.
“It will now move towards a model that focuses on animal welfare, rather than mortality - just because a sheep didn't die doesn't mean it was treated well.
“In coming weeks I will introduce a Bill increasing penalties and creating a new offence of profiting from poor animal welfare outcomes.
“Under this offence, a director of a company could face 10 years prison or $2.1 million fine.
“An individual convicted under the same offence would face 10 years and $420,000 fine. For a company, the fine will be $4.2 million, three times the benefit gained, or 10 per cent of the company’s annual turnover, whichever is greater.
Australian Sheep Producers President Allan Piggott said the recommendations outlined acknowledge the complex environment that the livestock export trade operates in and provide a solid foundation for rebuilding sheep producers’ trust in the trade.
“The review defines a truly independent, evidence-based approach to a solution, based on a solid, technical understanding of the industry.
“As a farmer, I know the importance of the livestock export trade to my community, my family and my farm business. The recommendations outlined in the report provide a great foundation moving forward and will set the expectation of how the trade needs to operate,” SPA board member Bindi Murray said. “We all recognise that cultural change is needed and the review provides the road map for improved animal welfare.