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Aussie government members call for end to live sheep exports to Middle East

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Staff Writer | April 19, 2018
Australia sheep
Food trade   2,400 sheep died

A member of the Australian government has announced she will introduce legislation to "effectively phase out live sheep exports to the Middle East."

Sussan Ley, the former Minister for Health, Sport and Aged Care, on Thursday said she intended to introduce the bill when parliament resumes in May.

It comes after footage of an August 2017 voyage to Qatar on which 2,400 sheep died from heat stress was made public in April.

"I want to see this live sheep trade permanently cease," Ley told Sky News Australia on Thursday.

"It is inherently impossible to trans-ship sheep to the Middle East, particularly during the months of May (to) October in a humane way, particularly if the exporters are not interested in doing it"

Ley has previously defended the trade but said that exporters had had decades to clean up their act.

She was the second government Member of Parliament (MP) to call for a ban on the practice after Jason Wood went public with his support for a ban on Wednesday.

In response to Ley's announcement, the Australian Greens reaffirmed their support for a ban on live exports.

"The Greens have been working to end live exports for years and we welcome members from the major parties joining us in standing up for animal welfare," Adam Bandt, Deputy Leader of the Greens, said in a statement.

"We'll support Sussan Ley's private members Bill to end live sheep exports to the Middle East and will continue to campaign for the entire live export trade to be transitioned to a chilled, boxed meat trade."

The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council on Wednesday voted to establish an independent inspector-general to observe the treatment of livestock on ships, ending years of opposition to the idea.

However, Ley said she was concerned the inspector-general would be a "toothless tiger."

The findings of a veterinarian-led review into live export voyages to the Middle East will be handed down on May 11.


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