The news that a company closely affiliated with disgraced livestock exporter Emanuel Exports has applied to the Federal Government to export 60,000 sheep has astonished the RSPCA.
The RSPCA was outraged to learn that the Federal Department of Agriculture is likely to grant an export permit to EMS Rural Exports, a closely associated sister company to Emanuel Exports.
EMS Rural Exports is clearly an associated entity, and it is beyond belief that the Department of Agriculture is even entertaining this application under the current circumstances.
This makes a mockery of the Department’s recent action in suspending Emanuel’s export licence, and will condemn the 60,000 sheep currently held in feedlots south of Perth to a horrendous ordeal as they sail into the furnace of the Middle Eastern summer.
Temperatures in South Perth currently range from 8 to 18 degrees, while live export destinations in the Persian Gulf are among the hottest places on earth, and may be reaching 40-50 degrees when these sheep arrive.
The Australian Veterinary Association says sheep on live export voyages during May to October will remain susceptible to heat stress and death because of these climatic conditions.
To make matters worse, the vessel they would be exported on is the three-decades-old Al Shuwaikh, a double-tier vessel that’s due to be phase-out by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority by 2020 because of poor ventilation performance.
The RSPCA cannot see how the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture can be satisfied that the travel arrangements will be adequate for the animals’ health and welfare in light of the available comprehensive scientific evidence, and is now gravely concerned for the welfare of these animals.
There is absolutely no need to export these sheep, as local processors have offered to buy them – instead, exporters seems determined to flout Australian live export regulations and defy the will of the Australian people.
This fiasco is just another example of the shell game that is live export, where permits and responsibilities are shuffled between companies, and where animal welfare is the lowest priority.
It’s further evidence of the failure of the current system to regulate live sheep exports, and demonstrates why the trade must be phased out before the community is shocked by yet another scandal.
The RSPCA continues to call upon the Turnbull Government to ensure that Australia’s live export regulatory requirements are upheld and this application is denied.
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