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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 3702

Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (13:49): I would like to quickly turn the clock back to Channel 9's 60 Minutes program on live sheep exports, which showed sheep and lambs dying on the putrid closed decks of the Awassi Express due to heat stress and lack of water. Australians were shocked and deeply disturbed by the footage provided by Animals Australia that shows that expected animal welfare standards are not being met on live export voyages to the Middle East in the northern summer.

A voyage to the Middle East usually takes an average of 21 days. That is 540 consecutive hours where sheep travel in very hot, cramped conditions. Under Australian law, if a dog was left in a car on a hot summer day, that would be regarded as animal cruelty; yet we have 65,000 sheep at a time being transported in these awful conditions. I met with Dr Portia Reading. She is a veterinary surgeon resident in La Trobe. She joins the call for a ban on live sheep exports and explained to me that, regardless of the stocking density, when it comes to the live export of sheep to the Middle East, with high temperatures, no ventilation and high humidity, the sheep will always suffer. I'm calling for a ban on live sheep exports. This is not a knee-jerk reaction. This is something I have called for for a long time. I've been given assurances from the industry before that animals wouldn't suffer. I've obviously been conned. We must compensate our farmers, protect our hardworking Australian farmers and help them with a transition package. (Time expired)