THE feds might have set a new course on live export, but hours after announcing tighter penalties and standards, state parliament heard NSW farmers shouldn’t be interacting with the industry at all.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the private members motion from Animal Justice Party MP Mark Pearson showed a lack of understanding of the NSW livestock sector, in that it is not directly involved in live export, and accounts for less than 1 per cent of sheep and cattle sent overseas.
Mr Pearson, fresh from supporting a Select Committee that will examine activist farm trespassers, moved that the NSW Upper House condemn the live animal export industry, call for a ban on live animal exports, and refuse to provide land transport of live NSW animals to ports or other states to board on live export ships.
He also said Mr Blair should meet with Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to discuss the issue.
Hours earlier, Mr Littleproud accepted all 23 recommendations from the McCarthy Review into the Middle East summer trade.
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He announced heat stress will replace mortality rates as the key measure of animal welfare, that the reportable mortality level will be halved from two to one per cent, and an allometric stocking density system will be introduced, providing for around 39pc more space for sheep on the voyage, and reducing stocking density by about 28pc.
Mr Blair said Mr Pearson’s motion ultimately showed a misunderstanding of the NSW livestock sector and the reforms underway.
He also said he’d had meetings with Mr Littleproud on the issue.
“A previous Labor government buckled to emotion and banned live animal export,” Mr Blair said.
“We tried that approach under Federal Labor, and it failed.
“Trade with middle east is important to our community, but the public also understands it can’t be done at any cost.”
“This is a lazy solution, put it in the too hard a basket, call for a ban.”
Animals Australia says the country’s $250 million annual live sheep export trade had declined 60 per cent over the past decade, with air-freighted fresh meat taking its place.
A ban on live sheep export would impact Western Australia the hardest, as it provides 85 per cent of the 1.9 million sheep Australia exports each year.