Policy & Politics |
Animals Australia

Live export review lacks independence

Animals Australia has welcomed the review into summer live sheep shipments to the Middle East but has raised concerns that a long-time paid contractor of the live export industry is leading the process.

Animals Australia has written to the Minister for Agriculture expressing concerns about the appointment of live export vet Michael McCarthy to single-handedly manage the review into northern summer shipments from Australia to the Middle East.

"Only someone at arm’s length of this industry could deliver a truly independent assessment of this trade," said Animals Australia's Lyn White. 

Animals Australia said Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer should be jointly conducting this review.

As the current vice president of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) and soon to be President, Australia’s Chief Vet understands Australia’s obligations under OIE guidelines – the body that sets global animal welfare standards.

“As the evidence from five routine sheep shipments to the Middle East has revealed, Australia’s live sheep trade is consistently breaching OIE guidelines, which Federal live export regulations are expected to ‘meet or exceed’.”

“The OIE Standards clearly state that sheep should not be shipped in extreme weather conditions.”

“There is nothing more extreme than sea temperatures of 38 degrees, outside air temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s and the suffocating heat and humidity deep in the hulls of live export vessels.”

Animals Australia said it was important to note that while a lot of discussion has centred on the August shipment where more than 2,400 sheep perished, on all voyages between May and November sheep were severely impacted by heat stress.