Author Topic: Live exporters slam shark attack, export link  (Read 910 times)

Export News Tasmania

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Live exporters slam shark attack, export link
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 06:49:30 PM »
THE Australian Live Exporters Council (ALEC) has labelled an attempt by the Humane Society International (HSI) to draw links  between recent tragic shark attacks off the WA coast and live sheep exports as irresponsible, insensitive and wrong.
In a statement released Tuesday night, HSI spokesperson Alexia Wellbelove said the WA government needed to look into all aspects that may be affecting shark behaviour, following the recent spate of shark attacks, believing there may be a possible connection to live sheep exports from Fremantle.

“Every year, thousands of dead sheep are thrown overboard as ships depart Australian ports for the Middle East, either whole or minced, without care or consideration for the consequences of these actions,” she said.
“It is highly likely that the disposal of animal remains in this way will attract large sharks over a wide distance.

“This attraction of large sharks may have dreadful consequences.
“HSI is concerned that one of these consequences may be increased incident of shark attacks.”

HSI has presented the WA government with a documented list of shark attacks and the presence of live export vessels, urging them to investigate possible links.

Topping off the list was the weekend tragedy involving WA surfer Ben Linden who was killed by great white shark near Wedge Island, about 160km north of Perth.

In making its argument, HSI said the MV GHENA was “out of port” at 10.38pm the day before the surfer’s death.
They also quoted Dr Peter Kerkenezov, a master mariner, veterinarian and commercial diver saying it was, “highly probable” that sharks can identify individual livestock vessels whether they are carrying livestock or not.

He said it was not unexpected that sharks escort these ships around the Australian coast and across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and elsewhere, and then back to Australia.

But ALEC CEO Alison Penfold slammed the HSI statement saying it was irresponsible, insensitive and wrong.

She said it not only drew a long bow on connection between shark attacks and live exports but also played politics with the life of a man tragically killed at the weekend.

HSI was trying to re-focus the spotlight on live exports for political gain at a time when the man’s family members were grieving and coming to terms with the sudden loss, she said.

Ms Penfold said the statement reflected “absolute desperation” from HSI in trying to make a tenuous link between the surfer’s tragic death, and any other shark attack incidents, just to attack the live export trade.

She said the live export trade was a legitimate and responsible industry that was heavily regulated by various governments, “basically from paddock to plate now”, including clear rules regarding distances that dead animals can be discharged from vessels.

Ms Penfold said despite 99.85 per cent of animals arriving fit and healthy in export markets, regulations did not permit any dead ones being discharged within 20 nautical miles (37kms) of the coastline.

But she said even then it was impossible to make any conclusions about links between the live export trade and shark attacks.

Ms Penfold said even critics of the live export trade could not dismiss the fact that dramatic improvements had been made over the past year and industry was committed to meeting community expectations around animal welfare standards, with the implementation of the new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) in all live export markets.

She was saddened that HSI would draw such a long bow to try and politicise the live export trade at such a sensitive time.

“This is just a cheap shot that’s stooped the issue to a level of debate that the Australian community doesn’t deserve,” she said.
“I don’t want to get into technical analysis on this but it’s just a very long bow.”
Ms Penfold said she was happy to debate legitimate issues around animal welfare, believing the trade was robust enough to stand up to scrutiny.
Other industry sources said the HSI statement was a joke but also had a serious side, given its lack of foresight.

COLIN BETTLES 18 Jul, 2012 09:16 AM
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« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 01:30:06 PM by WA Export News »