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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14442

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (13:51): Contrary to Minister Littleproud's tough talk a year ago, when horrific cruelty of live sheep exports to the Middle East on board the Awassi Express was aired on Australian TV, the Morrison government has again capitulated and will allow live sheep exports to continue to the Middle East during the hot northern summer months, when temperatures can soar to 45 degrees. In allowing the shipments, the government is going against its own review recommendations and once again relying on assurances from a discredited industry that claims the new standards will prevent sheep from suffering. This is the same industry that, for the past four decades, has failed to clean up its bad practices; that has been the subject of several damning reviews; that has been given numerous chances to get its house in order; and that has now lost the confidence of the Australian people.

Compliance with appropriate animal welfare standards cannot be guaranteed once sheep leave Australia and are in another country or on the waters, and they certainly cannot be guaranteed while northern summer temperatures present unmanageable risks regardless of stocking densities. No level of sheep deaths on board export ships is acceptable, and the industry should be assisted to transition to exporting locally processed chilled meat. The Morrison government should follow Labor's lead, take note of its own reviews and commit to ending live sheep exports and the unnecessary suffering.