Labor went to the 2019 Federal Election with a policy to put an end to the northern summer live sheep trade at the first opportunity and phase out the balance of trade while helping sheep meat producers make the transition to more domestic processing.
Labor welcomed the Government’s decision to finally provide a level of independent oversight to the regulation of Australia’s livestock export in September 2019.
The Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports presented a step in the right direction. However, ensuring that the highest standards of animal welfare are maintained will require the Government, the regulator and industry to remain vigilant and to be guided by the best available science.
Labor maintains animal welfare would be more adequately protected by an independent statutory regulator.
Labor will continue to advocate for a science-based approach to animal welfare, which clearly indicates the moratorium on the northern summer trade is both measured and necessary.
Update: 20 August 2020
Labor created a world class animal welfare system in the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS). ESCAS is an effective and strong system heralded by animal welfare bodies and other countries around the world. But the system cannot operate on its own. It is the responsibility of the Morrison Government to ensure compliance, and enforce appropriate sanctions where breaches are detected.
It is always distressing to learn about potential breaches of animal welfare standards. That is why the Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources, Hon Joel Fitzgibbon, has written to the Agriculture Minister seeking his assurance the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme standards are being upheld, and query what steps the Department of Agriculture are taking to ensure compliance with animal welfare standards.
Labor will continue to work the farming sector, research organisations and animal welfare groups to ensure animal welfare is prioritised in Australia.