Greens spokesperson for Animal Welfare Hon Alison Xamon MLC has today called on the Federal Department of Agriculture to extend the prohibition of the live sheep trade during the Northern Hemisphere summer to include both September and October.
She said that in March this year the Federal Government made a decision to prohibit the live sheep trade for the months of June, July and August in recognition of the intolerable heat stress suffered by these animals. The Department is now seeking public comment about its proposal to extend the prohibition of live sheep by sea to September.
“The five year mortality rate for sheep per voyage clearly shows that mortality rates in October are almost exactly the same as those in June. It is unacceptable then that none of the Department’s proposed options for reform include extending the prohibition period to October,” Ms Xamon said.
“It simply does not make sense to continue to allow Australian sheep to be exported during October, which is why we are joining the RSPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association’s calls for the prohibition period to be extended.
“The Greens have opposed live export for many decades and continue to do so, however until this occurs it is imperative that animal welfare is prioritised throughout all phases of the life cycle of production animals.
Ms Xamon said that continuing to permit industrial scale cruelty is no longer an appropriate and tenable position for the Department of Agriculture to hold in the 21st century.
“Until live export is stopped in favour of domestic processing within Australia and the expansion of the chilled lamb and mutton trade, the Department must ensure that it respects the unequivocal expert evidence behind these proposed reforms.
“In practice this means that transporting animals to the Middle East during October should no longer be allowed.