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Live sheep fiasco must end.



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JOEL FITZGIBBON MP FEDERAL MEMBER FOR HUNTER ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

12 September 2003

LIVE SHEEP FIASCO MUST END

Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss must accept responsibility for the fiasco involving 57,000 Australian sheep aboard the MV Cormo Express and bring this episode to a speedy end.

The sheep were rejected by Saudi Arabian authorities three weeks ago due to the alleged high incidence of illness on the ship.

While Australian authorities disputed this claim they have not satisfactorily explained the conflicting veterinary assessment.

Nor has the Minister acted to secure an alternative port for the sheep.

The Minister’s ‘hands off’ approach to live exports continues to permit animal welfare diasters in the trade and is doing untold damage to Australia’s trade reputation.

Today the RSPCA reports high and growing mortality on the MV Cormo Express due to the extended tenure of the sheep aboard the ship.

Labor demands that Mr Truss accepts responsibility for the latest fiasco.

The Minister must stop hiding behind spokespeople and his department and explain how he proposes to bring the suffering of these sheep to an end.

Labor’s Reform Agenda for the Live Export Industry commits a Crean Labor Government to restoring animal welfare standards in the live export trade by driving out rogue operators and forcing the whole industry to lift its game.

For comment: Joel Fitzgibbon 0418 293 372 Jack Lake 0438 773 842