Shutting down live sheep exports and moving to chilled meat processing would result in job losses, the head of Meat & Livestock Australia has said.
Richard Norton said shutting down the under-fire live sheep export trade would lead many West Australian farmers to stop breeding the animals.
‘‘Would there be more jobs in Australia if the live export industry closed down and it all went to chilled product for the Middle East? Sitting here today there would be less jobs in Australia,’’ Mr Norton told a Senate estimates hearing last Tuesday.
Under questioning from independent Senator Tim Storer, who is in favour of ending live exports, Mr Norton said Western Australia slaughterhouses lacked the capacity to create competition for farmers.
‘‘At this moment it would have dramatic impact on the income of a farmer in Western Australia if the trade was closed,’’ Mr Norton said.
Advocates of ending live sheep exports have argued moving to more chilled meat processing could create jobs and make Australian agriculture more humane.