New independent umpire for live trade passed by Senate

Live export trade a step closer to having an independent watchdog


Sheep
CONFIDENT MINISTER: Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie is confident legislation for a new independent Inspector-General for the live export trade will soon become law.

CONFIDENT MINISTER: Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie is confident legislation for a new independent Inspector-General for the live export trade will soon become law.

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The Senate has passed legislation for an independent watchdog for Australia's live animal export trade.

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The Senate today passed legislation for the appointment of an independent Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports to oversee regulation of the industry.

Federal Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie is confident the Bill will now pass the House of Representatives.

"Once it does I will appoint a suitably qualified person to make sure the system is operating as it should - driving positive change in the industry, improving regulator performance and providing greater confidence to the general community about livestock exports," she said.

"Australia's livestock export industry is an important contributor to our rural and regional communities and to our national economy valued at $1.7 billion and supporting thousands of jobs.

"It's a legitimate trade, however, it won't be conducted at the expense of animal welfare standards.

"This legislation is concrete proof of this government's continued commitment to improving the trade - making sure the trade is well regulated and above board.

"Our livestock export system is already world class and the Inspector-General will only enhance that," Ms McKenzie said.

The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council (ALEC) has already endorsed the move.

ALEC CEO, Mark Harvey-Sutton, has previously said an independent Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports would support the industry's commitment to improved welfare practices of exported animals.

Meanwhile, ALEC has responded to new allegations in the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper that money was paid by Animals Australia to crew members on live ships in return for footage showing cruelty to animals.

"ALEC has maintained all along that if payments were made for footage then this creates a market for animal cruelty and this is why we are greatly concerned by these serious allegations," Mr Harvey-Sutton said.

"If the allegations are true then this is clearly unethical behaviour and places animals at a greater welfare risk.

"ALEC initially refrained from making a public statement on the allegations, as we believed the allegations should first be substantiated.

EXPERT WATCHDOG: The industry is confident a new independent watchdog will enhance efforts to improve live animal exports.

EXPERT WATCHDOG: The industry is confident a new independent watchdog will enhance efforts to improve live animal exports.

"ALEC has written to Animals Australia many times and met with them in June to establish whether payments had been made. They have denied making payments.

"We have again sought an explanation from Animals Australia."

An Agriculture Department investigation into the allegations did not find any evidence that footage of animal cruelty on the sheep ship, the Awassi Express, in 2017 was illegally obtained.

But ALEC said the full report hadn't been released and was needed to understand the details of the investigation and how its conclusions were reached.

The story New independent umpire for live trade passed by Senate first appeared on Farm Online.

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