SUSSAN Ley has broken ranks with her government and is demanding it shut down Australia’s live sheep export industry.
The Member for Farrer has ignored her government’s support of the trade and said it was time to end the ‘ships of shame’.
The latest outcry against live export has been sparked by another TV documentary using secret video from a ship travelling to the Mediterranean in 2017.
It showed 2400 sheep dying on the trip.
Ms Ley wants a sunset strategy introduced with a fixed closure date.
However, Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has confirmed under the current government there would be no ban.
Instead he has announced a veterinarian-led review in the next few months and commissioned an audit of his own department.
Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh is convinced Ms Ley and other industry detractors don’t understand the role of live export in underpinning the Australian livestock sector.
Depending on the exchange rate the live export market – which is primarily sheep and cattle – is worth between $750 million and $1 billion a year. It also directly supports almost 10,000 jobs.
Mr Walsh said the industry needed to be regulated and those who break the rules should be held to account.
“Live exporting is an important part of the sheep industry, it puts a floor in the market,” he said.
“And the chilled meat substitution argument just doesn’t work, in several major markets there simply isn’t the infrastructure to deal with it.
“If those customers can’t get live animals from us they will go elsewhere – the fat-tailed sector in Africa and the Middle East would be their substitute, not chilled product.
“That said, no-one condones animal cruelty. The people doing the wrong thing must be weeded out and face the full force of the law.
“The Federal Agriculture Minister has ruled out a ban on live exports and I think that speaks for itself.”
But Ms Ley said Canberra’s review simply would not be enough and the goodwill that many Australians had for the industry was gone.
“It’s impossible to conduct the trade in a humane way. It’s too far, the conditions are too crowded and too hot,” Ms Ley added.
“The exporters have failed the farmers and the public for as long as I can recall. We’ve been promised exporters will clean up their act before.