Livestock

Export-bound sheep in limbo

By Country News

A livestock export company linked to the disastrous Awassi Express voyage has had its licence suspended, leaving tens of thousands of sheep in limbo.

The Federal Agriculture Department suspended Emanuel Exports’ licence last month after revelations of thousands of animal deaths in sweltering conditions.

The company confirmed ‘‘sister’’ entity EMS Rural Exports had been denied a permit to transport sheep to the Middle East.

Emanuel Exports director Nicholas Daws took over from his father Graham Daws after the first suspension was slapped on the company.

‘‘Emanuels has been advised the export licence will remain suspended pending a full review,’’ Nicholas Daws said.

The company remains responsible for the sheep, which are in a feedlot, but agriculture department veterinarians have determined they are in good health and well cared for.

EMS wanted to take about 45000 sheep from Fremantle to Kuwait on the Al Shuwaikh, but will now face a full review following the suspension.

A separate, smaller sheep shipment to the Middle East is expected to follow.

Animals Australia said it was relieved by the decision after earlier threatening to stop the export with Federal Court action.

‘‘The possibility of these sheep being exported by an affiliate of suspended exporter Emanuel Exports has had both the public and politicians shaking their heads in dismay and disbelief,’’ Animals Australia’s Lyn White said.

Footage from the Emanuel Exports-chartered Awassi Express sparked outrage in April, when it showed thousands of sheep dead, dying and suffering in their own filth and extreme heat on their way to the Middle East.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud cited legal advice showing he had no powers to interfere in regulatory decisions other than closing down the entire live export industry.

Animal welfare activists and farmers clashed outside the Emanuel office last Wednesday over sheep exports.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said up to 66000 sheep stranded in a feedlot had to go somewhere.