Minister moves on live sheep exports

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud (pictured) has said he accepts accept all the recommendations made by the McCarthy Review into live sheep exports, following disturbing footage emerged last month of almost 2,500 sheep dying from heat stress during a trip to the Middle East last year.

“We accept all 23 recommendations made by Dr McCarthy, noting that further testing and consultation is needed to understand and implement Recommendation 4 on Heat Stress Risk Assessment,” Littleproud said in a statement.

“There will be immediate changes that impact now on the live sheep trade during the current Middle Eastern Summer and there will be changes that will be take more time to introduce.

“The live sheep trade will move now to the allometric stocking density system, which takes into account animal weight and size. This means sheep will get up to 39 per cent more space and reducing stocking densities by up to 28 per cent. This change will affect shipments during the Middle Eastern Summer this year.”

The minister said he plans to introduce a Bill increasing penalties and creating a new offence of profiting from poor animal welfare outcomes.

Under this offence, a director of a company could face 10 years prison or $2.1 million fine.

An individual convicted under the same offence would face 10 years and $420,000 fine.

For a company, the fine will be $4.2 million, three times the benefit gained, or 10 per cent of the company’s annual turnover, whichever is greater.

Under the current Australian Meat and Livestock Act, penalties will increase from the current five years prison and/or a $63,000 fine for an individual to 8 years prison and/or $100,800 fine.

For a company the fine will be increased from $315,000 to $504,000.