The live export industry is edging precariously to its eventual demise after Australia's largest live sheep exporter Emanuel Exports had its export licence suspended.
The Federal Agriculture Department suspended the live export licence of Emanuel Exports as it investigates whether the exporter has been complying with animal and livestock laws.
"The laws that regulate the export of livestock include strict requirements to ensure the health and welfare of animals," says the Agriculture Department.
"It is the responsibility of each exporter to ensure it meets those obligations. The department takes those responsibilities very seriously."
The Department has promised more information about the investigation and the suspension of Emanuel Exports once a full review is conducted.
The WA based exporter is understood to have responded with a 30-page statement to the Agriculture Department.
Pictures of dead and heat-stressed sheep aboard an Emanuel Exports shipment to the Middle East sparked outrage in the Australian public earlier in 2018.
Protests have erupted both online and in the streets, with interested parties, including Business News Australia, calling for the abolition of the cruel practice of live export.
READ our opinion on live export: There is little to be proud of in the wake of the live export controversy
Dr Jed Goodefellow from the RSPCA says the suspension of Emanuel Export's live export licence is a positive step forward.
"This is another step toward the inevitable end of cruel, long-haul live sheep exports," says Goodfellow.
"We have long said that if the laws were enforced, live export would become impossible. This is evidence of that."
"Emanuel is not the exception."
"What we saw in the 60 Minutes footage included routine conditions across multiple voyages. This is what long-haul sheep export looks like, and it must not continue."
Whilst many in the agriculture industry agree that live export is cruel, they are also concerned about the effect it will have on the livestock industry as a whole if the abolition is not properly controlled.
Logistically, the live export industry can be replaced by chilled and frozen meat, but the industry is concerned about the ability for export locations' abilities to store the frozen meat.
However, change is clearly possible, and the industry must now prepare for the inevitable demise of the cruel practice. Whether it be a total ban, phasing out of the practice, or a cessation of the trade during the norther summer, stakeholders must ensure their operations are robust enough to take advantage of any opportunities available to them.
Business News Australia
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