CORANGAMITE Liberal federal member Sarah Henderson has promised to keep trying to change her party’s mind on live exports, following the release of a highly critical independent report into the industry last week.
The findings of the Moss Review into the regulatory capability and culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the regulation of live animal exports were released last week.
The review came about in response to revelations earlier this year of considerable cruelty in the live sheep trade, including graphic footage aired on TV of a transport ship on which about 2,400 sheep died.
In May, Ms Henderson announced she would second a private member’s bill from Liberal MP Sussan Ley to phase out the practice, contrary to Liberal policy on the issue.
However, both Ms Henderson and Ms Ley have since been appointed as assistant ministers, meaning they are not allowed to vote against government policy – such as Ms Ley’s bill or the new bill phasing out live sheep exports within five years in September, which was passed by Labor and the Greens in the Senate but failed in the House of Representatives 72 votes to 70.
In a joint statement released on October 31, Ms Henderson and Ms Ley said they welcomed the Moss Review and its findings.
“We remain convinced that the smartest and most humane way to treat our sheep and lamb offtake is to slaughter them domestically, which will also boost opportunities within our feedlotting and processing industries.
“We will continue to advocate with our Coalition colleagues for a five-year phase out of long haul live sheep exports – the Moss Review further proves why support for this ban continues to build in every corner of the country.”
RSPCA senior policy officer Dr Jed Goodfellow said the federal government was “kidding itself” if it thought the recommendations in the Moss Review would fix the live sheep trade.
“This is the third damning review of the live export trade we’ve seen in 15 years, and the same problems keep reappearing – a callous disregard for animal welfare, inherent conflicts of interest and an impotent regulator.”