Today, every MP in Australia needs to hear one important message: The actions of the world's largest live exporter, Wellard, have contributed to Australia's worst live export disaster. They must be held to account and lose their export licence.
How did it happen? When a shipload of 21,000 sheep was rejected by Bahrain, Wellard had no legitimate contingency plan (despite this being a requirement of their export permit). They considered two options: 1. Kill the animals at sea and dump their bodies overboard; 2. Pakistan — a country that didn't even have government approval to take sheep when the ship left Australia.
To avoid another disaster at sea, the Australian government fast tracked Pakistan's approval to receive the sheep. But there was a glaring omission in this plan. Wellard failed to ensure that the Pakistan Government were willing to import a shipment that had been rejected by Bahrain over disease concerns.
Whether the animals were healthy or not became irrelevant — the Pakistan Government felt they had been deliberately deceived. Local authorities ordered the animals be culled, and Wellard lost complete control. Deemed 'unfit' for human consumption, and without economic value, these animals were treated like worthless rubbish. Animals were dragged, beaten, their throats were sawn at with blunt knives before they were thrown into mass graves — some still alive hours later.
The Australian government has admitted that it's beyond their control to prevent another 'Pakistan'. MOUs with importing countries, to prevent shipments being rejected, have failed. Regulations to prevent cruelty on the scale seen in Indonesia last year, have failed.
What is profitable has never been the defining argument between right and wrong in any civilised society. It is offensive to the majority of caring people that profit continues to be used as justification for a trade that has been responsible for such suffering and cruelty.
Please urgently call on your federal MP and the Minister for Agriculture (Joe Ludwig) to ensure that Wellard loses their export licence for their role in this disaster. Importantly, please also remind your MP that you will not vote for a party that supports live exports.