5 November 2012
Four Corners will tonight air a program regarding the export and subsequent cull of a consignment of sheep sent to Pakistan in September.
What occurred in Pakistan was very distressing and was an isolated incident and is not a reflection of the trade as a whole.
There is a system in place to investigate any supply chain breaches that occurred and take appropriate action.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as regulator is already examining footage as part of its investigation.
This investigation would not have been possible prior to the reforms introduced to the live animal export industry by this Government last year.
The exporter, industry and Government have remained transparent in regards to this issue and will continue to do so.
More than 1.5 million animals have been exported to live export markets under Australia’s new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System that puts animal welfare at the heart of the trade.
The Government regulates the live export trade, but this is a commercial industry.
It is the responsibility of Australian exporters to ensure supply chain assurances are followed.
I understand the industry has already imposed a voluntary suspension of sheep exports to the market.
It is not in the exporters’ interests to send animals into supply chains that don’t meet the standards the Australian Government and community expects.
Australia leads the world in animal welfare practices – especially in the live export trade.
Government and industry has built and implemented a system that sets a high standard internationally. We continue to engage with international bodies and trading partners to advocate better animal welfare standards.
The community has legitimate expectations about animal welfare, and Government and industry has taken significant steps to address them.
There are some in the community who simply do not want this trade to continue, regardless of the steps we take. I am not one of them.
This Government will continue to support the live export trade and all those who rely on it.
Anyone with evidence of mistreatment of animals in live export markets should make that evidence available to the regulator, DAFF, for investigation.
More information can be found on the DAFF website.