Author Topic: Animals Australia and Wellard agree on live ex  (Read 1615 times)

WA Export News

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Animals Australia and Wellard agree on live ex
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2013, 10:27:20 AM »
   UNLIKELY allies Animals Australia and livestock exporter Wellard are working for the same result, with both groups calling for tougher penalties for deliberate Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) breaches rather than market shut-downs. 
Animals Australia - which wants to see the $1 billion per year live export trade eventually banned - has also defended Wellard from undue blame over the latest live exports uproar involving sheep sold to the Middle East. 

Animals Australia investigator Lyn White said the group lodged a legal complaint and extensive evidence about alleged ESCAS breaches in Jordan and Kuwait with the Federal Department of Agriculture. 
Wellard and Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) have been named as the two West Australian sheep exporters under investigation. However, Animals Australia said no information had been supplied by the group to the Department implicating Wellard in any wrongdoing.
The allegations suggest approximately 10,000 sheep exported from Australia under ESCAS have been held at about 30 locations outside ESCAS approved supply chains.
The incidents occurred during the annual two-day religious Festival of Eid al-Adha in mid-October. Once the livestock left the markets, some were placed into car boots or subject to backyard slaughter, rather than processed under accepted ESCAS welfare standards at approved facilities.
Animals Australia alleged the sheep sold outside ESCAS compliance were supplied by Hijazi and Ghosheh (H&G), which owns LSS.
Ms White said the latest welfare incident was the second complaint in five months relating to Jordan. She said in June, Animals Australia documented 26 locations selling Australian sheep for slaughter in breach of ESCAS - and only LSS had sheep in the Jordan marketplace at that time.
However, under the existing ESCAS regulations, each exporter must respond to the ongoing investigation.
Animals Australia is now writing to rural representative bodies to ensure they’re fully briefed about the latest live export situation and asking them to bring the allegations to sheep producers’ attention, and have already written to Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
“Producers are currently providing sheep to the Jordan market believing that sheep will remain within approved supply chains,” Ms White said.
“They need to be apprised of the current situation in Jordan and that significant numbers of animals are being handled and slaughtered in breach of ESCAS, so that they can make an informed decision as to whether they wish to supply animals to this market.”
Mr Joyce, speaking from a live export conference in Queensland, said he was not considering halting the trade.
“We’ve got to manage it, not close it down,” he said.
Mr Joyce said severing livestock trade ties with Jordan would simply mean the country would give their exporting dollars to another country, leaving Australian farmers in the lurch. Defenders of ESCAS also noted other animals would be supplied to the markets without the protection of the welfare system.
Wellard declined to comment on Animals Australia’s claims but stood by their original media statement.
That statement said the incident involved “a certain supply chain”, rather than an industry-wide problem in the markets concerned.
“Wellard, like many Australian exporters who have invested resources to make Australia’s ESCAS work, is frustrated that the positive impact of ESCAS is being undermined by the recent events in Jordan during the current Eid Festival,” the statement from Wellard Rural Exports CEO Fred Troncone said.
“Wellard’s experience with ESCAS is that it can work, but only when exporters and importers are committed to making it work.”
LSS general manager Garry Robinson was contacted by Fairfax Agricultural Media but did not return calls before deadline. Last week, Mr Robinson said his company had launched its own internal investigation and found there had been no significant breaches of ESCAS.
“We can only rely on the information which is supplied to us in that respect,” he said.
Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council chief executive Alison Penfold said if the Department’s investigation showed any “flagrant, proven breaches” of ESCAS had occurred in Jordan and Kuwait, “tough penalties should apply”.
Ms Penfold said it was in everyone’s interests - including those making the allegations - for the Department to conduct a swift and accurate investigation.
Ms White said Animals Australia was seeking a strong regulatory response for any proven deliberate breaches of ESCAS.
“This is about a single exporter and their widespread, systemic and deliberate disregard of regulations that have resulted in dire welfare repercussions for animals,” she said.
“Compliance with ESCAS is the basis on which export permits are granted.
“The regulator has the power to deny permits, or suspend or revoke export licences.”
Ms White said ESCAS was implemented to protect both the industry’s future and the welfare of animals, “recognising that if brutal treatment of exported animals continued to be documented, public calls for the trade to end would be overwhelming”.
Ms White said the policy of animal welfare groups internationally was that live export, whether from Australia or other countries, should be transitioned towards a carcase-only trade.
She said Animals Australia would not even be talking about live export if ESCAS was being enforced.
“Compliance with ESCAS is both in the interests of the industry and of exported animals - and this is why there is such united support for strong regulatory action.”

02 Nov, 2013 04:00 AM COLIN BETTLES