IT is not only the farming sector that needs to be on the front foot with live exports, but also the transport industry and rural communities, according to Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association president Kevin Keenan.
Speaking at the Livestock & Rural Transporters Association of SA’s 32nd annual conference in Adelaide at the weekend, Mr Keenan said it was important politicians were getting balanced viewpoints when it came to live exports.
“The activists’ messages are emotive and they only tell one side of the story,” he said. “We need to tell our decision-makers about the impact any ban would have, not only on our transport businesses, but also on our regional communities.”
ALRTA is calling on its members to urgently write to their MPs and other key decision-makers to express their view about live exports, especially after Animals Australia launched a case in the Federal Court last week arguing the Department of Agriculture unlawfully issued a permit for the export of 58,000 sheep from Fremantle, WA, this month.
But, rather than giving general opinions, ALRTA wants members to give details such as direct and indirect impacts on their transport business and the potential effects on livestock prices.
“It’s been shown that saleyard prices for older sheep would be 18 per cent lower without the export market,” Mr Keenan said.
“In 2017, Australia exported 2.8 million cattle, sheep and goats, which was worth about $1.4 billion.”
Mr Keenan said points raised by livestock veterinarian Michael McCarthy in his review of the industry were also important, as they were “based on science, not emotion”.
He said while live export standards were a major issue for industry, there was no reason why the problems with the sector could not be fixed.
“It’s important for Australia to play a leading role in improving live export standards,” he said.
“Australia has gone further than any other nation to protect animal welfare. We already have some of the world’s best live exporters in Australia. Industry just needs to do what’s necessary to lift the standards further.”
- Details: alrta.org.au