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However, the premier conceded that the live trade industry was on a downhill as markets shift to a more Western style of consuming meat. In anticipation of the decline, WA is persuading Gulf states to increase their investment in WA sheep farming while the state's abattoirs would promote export of refrigerated and frozen meat instead.
Community Call to Phase Out Live Export
Today at Parliament, on the back Saturday’s protest and in the wake of a new low in the live export industry, Lynn MacLaren MLC, Greens spokesperson on Animal Welfare, received a petition of 586 signatures calling for a timeframe to end live cattle exports.
“The petitioners are calling for an investigation into the live export trade in cattle, with a view to recommending a timeframe for discontinuing it,” she said.
“The State Government’s establishment of a timeframe to discontinue the export of cattle for slaughter from Western Australia gives farmers, the meat processing industry and shippers a fair opportunity to develop strategies to transition into packaged meat exports,” according to the petition.
“The Government points to their ‘extensive modelling’ of the industry, yet have no measures to use the surplus of abattoir capacity in Western Australia when shipments are delayed as happened this month.
“Another live export ship, the Ghena, loaded cattle and left Fremantle on 19 September. The Minister’s answer was vague to my question in Parliament on Thursday about where these cattle would end up. Various ports in the Middle East, was his response. No one can say how long they'll suffer on board or at their destination.
“The State Government can take action right now to provide the local meat processing industry and shippers fair opportunities to transition to packaged meat exports. That’s a win-win.”
Live exports to Middle East set to resume
Australia's live sheep trade to the Middle East is set to resume.
The Federal Agriculture Department has granted three companies permits to export about 190,000 sheep and 400 cattle.
It recently suspended licences following problems with a shipment of sheep to Bahrain and Pakistan.
Bahrain rejected the 21,000 sheep, claiming some had scabby mouth and Pakistan accepted them before later claiming they were diseased.
More than 1,000 of the animals were destroyed before an independent veterinarian declared the animals free from infectious diseases and said they could be slaughtered for meat production.
The shipment was exported by the Fremantle-based Wellard company.
The agriculture department says it has imposed additional animal health and welfare requirements on exporters.
It says they must now have contingency plans if a shipment is delayed or refused entry, and carry extra feed and water.
Wellard rural exports managing director, Mauro Balzarini, says they will comply with the new conditions.
"Some of the conditions are commercial and are between us and the department," he said.
"There are some extra checks they want to do on the animals, it's a bit of risk management but nothing impossible to comply with."