Press Release – Minister Ludwig welcomes live sheep export supply chain assurance

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13 July 2011

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and representatives of the sheep export industry met in Perth today to discuss the introduction of supply chain assurance to the Australia’s live sheep export industry and what could be done to strengthen it.

Attendees included LiveCorp, Meat and Livestock Australia, the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, the West Australian Live Exporters Association, the Goat Industry of Australia and other exporters.

During the meeting, the Government made it clear that it expected international standards to apply to the live exportation of sheep.

“In order to do this, a transition to the new framework is required. The Government has today announced an Industry-Government Working Group to develop standards to support this transition,” Minister Ludwig said.

“This working group will focus on traceability and supply chain assurances for all live sheep exports.”

It will report back to Government after developing the new standards.

Minister Ludwig said the Government understands that the sheep trade is different to the cattle trade, but that it was vital to ensure international animal welfare standards were the basis for the industry.

The Government has set out four principles for the reform of the trade.

Firstly, adherence to internationally agreed animal welfare standards reflected in the World Organisation for Animal Health or OIE guidelines.

Secondly, traceability through the system so that exporters can demonstrate where and under what conditions animals exported by them will be held and slaughtered.

Third, reporting and accountability through exporters collecting and making public data on the consignments they take to international markets.

Finally, the Government will require the entire process to be independently verified and audited.
“It is our intention to work closely with these industries to ensure they have a sustainable and long term future,” he said.

The Government has welcomed the engagement of representatives from the industry.
In 2010 Australia exported more than 3 million sheep, mostly from Victoria and Western Australia, with the industry valued at more than $322.5 million by ALEC.

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