Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has announced a review into the northern summer live sheep export trade following the deaths of thousands of sheep on a ship bound for the Middle East.
About 2,400 sheep died on an Emanuel Exports vessel in August last year, and footage taken from on board the livestock carrier was presented to Mr Littleproud last week.
The footage was subsequently aired by the Nine Network on Sunday night, provoking a strong public backlash.
The ship that was featured in the footage — the Awassi Express — is currently docked in Fremantle awaiting a load of more than 60,000 sheep.
Emanuel was also investigated in 2017 after it was revealed more than 2 per cent of a shipment of 69,000 ship sent to the Middle East in July 2016 had also perished on board.
The Awassi Express docked at Fremantle has been prevented from leaving. (ABC News: Nicolas Perpitch)
Speaking in Perth on Tuesday, Mr Littleproud said he expected the review, to be headed by livestock veterinarian Dr Michael McCarthy, to take four to five weeks.
“We’ll be undertaking a short, sharp review into the standards of the northern summer trade to make sure that we can get confidence in those boats and the standards in which those sheep will go into the Middle East,” he said.
The Minister also said he expected industry leaders to co-operate fully with the investigation.
“I want them to come on this journey, and not be forced into it, but change the culture of their industry and lead the way,” he said.
“Because that’s part of the reason we’re in this position.
“Because industry hasn’t had the cultural parameters that they should have had.”
WA Farmers Federation president Tony York welcomed the Minister’s announcement and said it should help restore confidence in the industry.
“We’re very dependent on the live trade,” he said.
“That’s how our business operates. Most years about 75 per cent of our business, sheep turn off is for the live trade, so it’s very important to us that we can find a way forward.”