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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News March 05, 2012, 11:55:50 PM

: Cattle export chiefs Daws and Stanton had prior cruelty controversies. 5.3.2012
: WA Export News March 05, 2012, 11:55:50 PM
Cattle export chiefs had prior cruelty controversies.

  A DIRECTOR of the company that sent cattle to one of the Indonesian abattoirs filmed abusing steers had an export licence suspended over animal welfare concerns in 2003.

The company was also involved in the Cormo Express debacle where 5691 sheep died onboard a ship refused entry by multiple Middle Eastern ports.

International Livestock Exports last week told media outlets it had suspended exports to a Jakarta abattoir, which featured in footage released by Animals Australia showing workers mistreating what are believed to be Australian cattle.

Federal government officials are investigating the covert vision -- shot by an Animals Australia investigator in January -- and whether it has breached the tough new animal welfare regulations introduced last year.

The Australian has learnt ILE managing director Michael Stanton and fellow director Graham Daws are no strangers to controversy in live exports, including both men being charged and acquitted of animal cruelty charges in Western Australia in 2008.

Mr Daws was also a director of a company called Rural Exports and Trading (WA) when it had its licence suspended in 2003 for three months by the then agriculture minister Warren Truss for concerns over high death rates on export ships to the Middle East.

Mr Truss, at the time, said the company's high mortality rates in shipments of sheep were "clearly unacceptable" and put at risk Australia's reputation.

ILE was also the company whose 57,937 sheep were trapped on the ship, Cormo Express, in 2003 after Saudi Arabia refused entry on the disputed claim there were high levels of disease.

The ship -- dubbed the industry's Tampa -- was stuck at sea for 80 days due to arguments about which country would accept the animals, leading to the death of 5600 sheep.

A federal government inquiry into the incident and the livestock industry found the sheep died as a result of the length of time at sea and there was little substance in the claims by Saudi Arabia about high levels of disease.

Mr Daws also warned the Gillard government's live export industry taskforce in January that exporters to the Middle East were not ready to implement the government's tough new animal welfare regulations in the wake of last year's suspension of trade to Indonesia.

In an email seen by The Australian, he writes that despite the "best intentions" by industry, the new regulations are "way too ambitious".

"We have been advising this for some time, however the regulators are not listening," he wrote on January 9. "We will have another Indonesian debacle on our hands as producers, industry service providers, exporters and all industry-associated businesses come to a grinding halt. This is inevitable as it becomes known as to the full extent required in establishing a (supply chain)."

Mr Stanton and Mr Daws were also tried for animal cruelty charges relating to a shipment of sheep in November 2003 to the Middle East, with WA prosecutors arguing that the pair put the sheep at increased risk of starvation and disease when it sent them on an overcrowded vessel with inadequate food.

Magistrate Catherine Crawford in 2008 found the men had acted cruelly but acquitted them because of conflicting legislation between the state and Commonwealth.

by: Milanda Rout
From: The Australian
March 06, 2012

The Australian
Foreign Affairs