Federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, says his government will adopt all 23 recommendations containted in the McCarthy review of live sheep exports.
He said there will be no ban to the live trade sheep in the Middle Eastern summer, but, as a result of this review, “we will be making serious and meaningful change to the industry”.
“A major recommendation, which will be adopted for this year's summer trade, will be the elementary stocking density model,” he said.
“This means an increase in space for sheep of up to 39 per cent, resulting in a stocking reduction of up to 28 per cent.”
The report prepared by livestock veterinarian, Dr Michael McCarthy, recommended sweeping changes, including “a seismic shift from stocking density based on animal mortality to one based on animal welfare”.
But the Minister has gone even further promising to introduce a bill in coming weeks to amend the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act (1997) to create a new offence to “punish those who seek to profit from breaking the export rules, including around stocking densities and poor animal welfare practices”. Hefty fines could apply.
“Today is about setting a new course for the live export industry,” Minister Littleproud said. “There’s still a lot more to be done and I give you a commitment to lead that journey. If anyone in the industry is not up to it, I urge them to leave now because there is too much at stake.”