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Livestock Exports – The Facts

Industry is committed to animal welfare

That’s why industry is investing in R&D, training, education and infrastructure across the supply chain to improve animal welfare outcomes. Exporters are also required to comply with State and Federal Government animal welfare regulations including the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) which covers the preparation of livestock for the voyage from farm through to onboard care and the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) from discharge to point of processing. All vessels transporting livestock operate under strict Australian Maritime Safety Authority regulations.

ESCAS is helping to improve animal welfare outcomes

The livestock export industry has embraced the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), which makes livestock exporters responsible for meeting international animal welfare standards throughout the entire supply chain in overseas markets. In Indonesia over 80% of approved abattoirs use stunning, up from a base of approximately 15% twelve months ago.

What happens when the ESCAS is breached?

Where breaches of the ESCAS occur immediate action is taken to remedy the situation. Failure to comply with the ESCAS or conditions of approval could result in a range of compliance measures and sanctions including additional conditions on supply chains, failure to receive approval for future consignments, or an exporter losing their licence to export livestock.

Animals are well cared for during transport

In 2011, 99.26% of sheep and 99.85% of cattle exported by sea arrived at their destination fit and healthy.

Accredited stockmen and women care for our sheep and cattle during their journey overseas and Australian Government accredited veterinarians provide an extra level of care on vessels travelling on long-haul voyages. On board, all animals have room to move around and lie down, ready access to food and water and are placed in hospital pens if they need extra care.

Exporters must implement and comply with the detailed requirements of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock which cover all aspects of preparation of livestock for the voyage – from farm through to on-vessel management.

Stopping livestock exports will not improve animal welfare

Of the more than 100 countries exporting livestock, Australia is the only country regulating international animal welfare standards from paddock to the point of processing. The industry is positively influencing the actions of other countries by its presence in the market and investment in training & infrastructure.

Boxed meat is not a substitute for livestock

The supply of livestock and chilled or frozen meat often caters to distinct markets that are not interchangeable. Australian livestock is in demand due to logistical difficulties in delivering and storing meat, cultural/religious preferences and its price. In 2007 Australia could not meet the Middle East demand for live animals. The gap was not filled by Australian boxed meat but by live animals from Sudan, Somalia and Iran, countries that do not share Australia’s commitment to animal welfare.

The livestock export industry supports jobs and economic growth in Australia

A 2006 study into Australia’s livestock export trade found it contributed the following to our economy: 12,924 jobs, including more than 11,000 jobs in rural and regional areas; wages and salaries totalling $987 million annually; and $1.80 billion to GDP per annum.

Livestock export volumes and value

In 2011:

  • 2,458,448 sheep were exported from Australia, worth $328 million
  • 694,429 cattle were exported from Australia, worth $629.4 million
  • 63,663 goats were exported from Australia, worth $8.5 million

The Australian livestock export industry underpins prices at home and contributes to competition and returns for producers

A 2011 Centre for International Economics report showed that without livestock exports the saleyard price for older sheep would have been 17.6 percent per kilogram lower.

Recently in Western Australia, live shipments of sheep due for export were cancelled and the immediate result was a dramatic drop in price.

A majority of Australians do not oppose the livestock export trade

Industry-commissioned Newspoll research in June 2012 showed that, given the choice, 82% of Australians believe the livestock export trade should be allowed to continue to countries that adhere to international standards for animal welfare, versus a total ban.

Click to enlarge the graph below:


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