WAFarmers President Tony York has expressed disappointment about statements made over the reported findings from State Government inspectors while on board the MV Maysora vessel in Fremantle.
At the invitation of the ship’s operator Livestock Shipping Services (LSS), Mr York visited the ship with Pastoralists and Graziers Association President Tony Seabrook on 11 April, after the government’s inspection was conducted.
Mr York said there was no indication from the ship’s owners or operator that the inspection had revealed anything untoward, and condemned the state inspectors for not acting on any concerns they had before the ship slipped anchor.
“It is greatly disappointing that the operator has been forced to clarify statements that have been selectively construed from the leaked report to imply inappropriate standards,” Mr York said.
“The public has been led to believe some aspects of animal welfare conditions on the Maysora are inadequate; however, the ship met all government regulations and standards, there were reasonable procedures in place, and there were no reported breaches at the time of our visit.
“As a livestock farmer, I can attest that it is not unusual for stock to contaminate water troughs, even moments after they are cleaned, and for stock to be without feed for short periods of time while settling into new surroundings and pens.
“In these situations – both on farm and while at sea – the most important course of action is to ensure procedures are in place for the regular cleaning of troughs and maintenance of feed supplies.
“It is the role of the Federal Government as the trade regulator to enforce the live export animal welfare standards it has set out.
“Given this, we question why actions were not taken by the inspectors to prevent the ship’s departure from Fremantle Port if there were any concerns about conditions on board.”
Mr York said while WAFarmers has not been afforded the opportunity to see the report, the organisation maintained that live sheep export shipments should not occur without proper procedures being put in place to uphold the highest standards of live export animal welfare.
“WAFarmers supports the Federal ASEL review and has offered a number of suggestions as to how to prevent any recurrence of the August 2017 Awassi Express incident,” Mr York said.
“WAFarmers reiterates that it does not and will not accept any breeches of animal welfare regulations, and seeks to have any possibility of another incident eliminated through the McCarthy review.
“The live sheep trade offers a large economic benefit to the WA sheep and sheepmeat industry, and its cessation would very significantly impact both livestock farmer incomes and the Western Australian economy.”