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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : Export News Tasmania March 15, 2012, 11:42:02 PM

: Farmers very nervous about future of live sheep trade to Middle East
: Export News Tasmania March 15, 2012, 11:42:02 PM
WA's live export sheep market is in limbo and a real sense of nervousness is creeping into the industry as the animal welfare supply chain agreements with the Middle East wait for approval.

Last year WA exported 1.7 million head of sheep, which was the bulk of the national total of 2.4 million head.

Most of those sheep went to the Middle East, namely Kuwait, but also Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan.

Mike Curnick is the sheep livestock manager with Emanuel Exports and he was a quest (sic) speaker at a livestock producers forum in Geraldton on Friday afternoon.

He says until these animal welfare supply chain agreements are signed off by the Federal Government, no live sheep boats can leave the country.

"The last boat left early March and as we stand at this stage there have been no boats booked until we get the supply chain agreement in place. So at the moment everybody's in limbo waiting for the supply chain agreement to come through, so sheep numbers are certainly building up in large numbers out on the farms."

"The longer it takes, there's a lot of sheep in WA, that the younger wethers and the wether lambs and a lot of store lambs that are live exported that can't be processed here and if the live export trade is slowed down or at worst haulted (sic) the scenario for farmers is quite drastic because not only will there be no live export market they're not suitable to be killed and there's also very little store market because the confidence is waning at a fairly quick degree."

He says the supply chain agreements are taking time to complete.

"There's an enormous amount of auditing and paperwork to be done at the other end and one of the other things that we're finding is that all of a sudden we told the Middle East that we had to move by the first of March and drop that on them with virtually no help from the Government until the Minister went over there in January/February. While the Middle East are keen to come on board, these things do take a little bit of time and we're working as fast as we can and the Middle East are working as fast as they can. What we would have liked is probably just a little bit more time and business as usualy until that time."

"The farming community is very nervous, they do rely, especially in WA, rely on the live sheep trade for a very large part of their sales and forward sales and there are a lot of farmers that are very, very nervous about the future of the industry. Basically we've been working very hard on animal welfare from the farm, to trucks, to feedlots, to ships right through to the Middle East and while the live export trade has been the main focus, it starts at the farmers and ends up at the Middle East and all chains have to be accounted for and looked after ... farmers in WA are extremely nervous and I've even been told that quite a few of them, if the live industry trade was to cease ... that would be the end of their sheep, sheep enterprise".

By Belinda Varischetti
Monday, 12 March  2012
: Re: Farmers very nervous about future of live sheep trade to Middle East
: Export News Tasmania March 15, 2012, 11:46:58 PM
From what we have seenm, they can't even get OIE standards working before the animals leave Australia. And two questions - if they can't even get the 'lowest common denominator' OIE standards applied in the Middle East, what have they been doing with the millions of dollars of taxpayer funds handed over to them over THREE DECADES to get it right? Can we have our money back to invest in local processing? And if a ship left early in March, it should have come under the new regulations, so what is the story there?