National Farmers' Federation

Pragmatism not populism must guide decisions on live sheep exports

A delegation of producers representing Sheep Producers Austral (SPA), WAFarmers and the National Farmers Federation (NFF) are in Canberra this week to deliver one clear message to parliamentarians – fix it, don’t ban it.
“We have converged on Canberra from across the country seeking a considered and meaningful response from decision makers that focuses on the sustainability of Australia’s live export sheep industry,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.
“We stand behind the live sheep trade, but we want to see changes.
“Like all Australians, farmers were distressed by the footage and circumstances covered by 60 Minutes.”
“There is simply no place for poor animal welfare in our industry including in supply chains and we won’t tolerate it.”
Mr Mahar said industry was committed to continuous improvement in animal welfare and took seriously its responsibility to consumers and the community.
“Farmers welcomed the ‘short, sharp’ review into the industry commissioned by Minister for Agriculture, Hon David Littleproud MP and undertaken by Dr Michael McCarthy.
“We look forward to reading the recommendations contained in the report when it is released.
“Farmers are calling for meaningful change to the live sheep industry, that will enable it to operate in a way that meets the animal welfare expectations of producers and indeed, all reasonable Australians.
“However, we must have all the objective, evidenced-based information to hand before any decisions are made on the future of the industry.
“A ban of live sheep exports is not the answer. Australia has seen the devastation when such short-sighted decision making is taken.
“Live sheep exports are an important part of the livelihoods of farmers and thousands of workers employed in the sector.
“A knee-jerk ban, would compromise these livelihoods and inflict further hardship on already-struggling regional communities.”
“As we continue our discussions over the coming weeks and months we will be calling on our elected leaders to demonstrate pragmatism not populism and emphasising one key message – fix it, don’t ban it,” Mr Mahar said.

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