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The export of live sheep

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MEDIA MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRYCANBERRA RELEASEPI 85/250 1 November 1985"The Export of Live Sheep"Following a recent meeting of the Livestock Export Industry Advisory Committee (LEIAC), the Hon John Kerin, Minister for Primary Industry, met with representatives of the Australian Livestock Exporters' Association (ALEA) and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia to discuss arrangements for making progress with the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee Report "Export of live sheep from Australia"."I am not satisfied that sufficient improvement is working its way through the industry" said Mr Kerin. "In particular there must be more attention paid to reducing stress on sheep at all steps in the export process".Mr Kerin said "I am pleased that live sheep exporters have embraced the setting up of a Shipboard Veterinary Clinical Service". The first veterinarian accompanying a shipment of live sheep is due to leave Australia early in the new year. "This will go some way to addressing genuine community concerns over the live sheep trade" Mr Kerin remarked.The exporters have put proposals for the Service to the Livestock Export Industry Advisory Committee which advises Mr Kerin. The proposals which are ready to be implemented will mean that exporters will have 2 months notice that a veterinarian will be travelling on a ship and will be assured of continuity by the same veterinarian making four voyages on the same ship to allow full assessment of seasonal differences. Other proposals relate to the conditions under which veterinarians are on board.Mr Kerin also welcomed the setting up of working parties to set standards for feedlots and sheep rations and to facilitate their introduction. However he made clear that adequate information already exists on the husbandry of sheep to enable those feedlotters who wish to continue to use feedlots for the preparation of sheep next winter to put improvements in place now and not delay action until the working party reports."The feedlot working party will be an information exchange for feedlotters rather than a mechanism for fine tuning of feedlots. The quality of the stockmanship and management of feedlots is the real way of ensuring sheep are well cared for during preparation for export. The guidelines produced will need to be used in the context of the local environmental conditions not as a substitute for attentive management."Mr Kerin said. "This is an important industry for Australia which will only maintain longer term viability by meeting recently highlighted community concerns about animal welfare."CONTACT: JEFF GILMORE (062) 72 6649