The department decided this in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act 1997, and has taken action against this company to safeguard Australia’s standards of animal welfare and health.
It is the responsibility of each exporter to ensure it meets the clear requirements under the legislation that governs the export of livestock. These are set out in section 23 of the Act. Importantly, this includes providing complete, accurate information to the regulator as to how regulatory standards and licence conditions will be met and have been met.
Not compliance with these requirements undermines the legislative regime and damages the ability of the industry to export livestock in a manner that ensures the health and welfare of livestock.
The department is also implementing a series of changes to improve the sustainability of the trade with improved animal welfare outcomes. The country will introduce a new legislation to penalise any exporter that violates these standards. Under the proposal, a director of a company could face 10 years prison or A$2.1 million fine if the welfare standards are not met.
In addition, the government instead reduce the number of sheep a vessel can carry during the summer months by 28%, with independent observers onboard to ensure welfare standards are adhered to.
The policy comes in a bid to stem public anger, after footage emerged showing 2,400 sheep dying from heat stress on 'Awassi Express' bound for the Middle East last year. Putting independent observers on all boats will minimize such incidents, Mr. Littleproud told reporters in Sydney.