Live Animal Exports - Pakistan Sheep

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has released the investigation report into Pakistan sheep. Reports and reviews, such as this, are leading to ongoing improvements in the system.

The investigation into the consignment of Australian sheep exported to and culled in Pakistan in September and October 2012 has found that the events were beyond the control of the exporter. The animal welfare breaches that took place were unacceptable and Government shares the Australian community’s desire to see action.

Intervention by Pakistan authorities and armed police to undertake the culling was outside the scope of Australia’s regulatory framework and the export industry is to be commended on its voluntary suspension to exports of slaughter and feeder animals to Pakistan.

Trade in slaughter and feeder livestock to Pakistan will not recommence until a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), that includes animal welfare assurances, is agreed between the Governments of Australia and Pakistan.

This is one way that the Australian Government is taking action to reduce the risk of livestock export incidents. Having an MoU in place will cement government-to-government relations facilitating high-level dialogue as and when necessary.

Whilst the implementation of the Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) has led to big improvements in the live animal export trade, MoUs will provide additional assurance at the government level that good animal welfare outcomes will be met.

The Government's support for the industry is not in question, but nor is the Government's determination to ensure that we continue to have the best system in the world in terms of animal welfare.  The trade is important because it contributes about $1 billion a year to the economy and supports 10,000 jobs in rural and regional communities.

More than 100 countries export live animals and Australia is the only one that puts animal welfare standards at the heart of the trade. Working with industry gives Australia an opportunity to influence animal welfare conditions in other countries.