AUSTRALIA’s biggest live sheep exporter Emanuel Exports has had its licence cancelled by the independent regulator after what it described as a “thorough investigation and show cause process”.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) handed down its decision overnight in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act 1997.
It said it had “taken action against this company in the best interests of the industry and for the protection of Australia’s high standards of animal welfare and health”.
“Cancellation of licence is a serious step and is not one taken lightly,” DAWR said.
“The department is satisfied that this is the most appropriate response.”
The decision was handed down 60 days after the initial suspension of the licence in June, which has seen the industry encapsulated in a fog of uncertainty and concern.
The WA-based Emanuel Exports shipped more than one million sheep to the Middle East in 2017, and without its presence in the industry sheep producers will likely lose a market for their wethers, despite other exporters still able to trade.
There has also been flow-on effects with WA mill Macco Feeds having to consider laying off staff due to the downturn of supply and livestock carriers who have struggled to find work to replace the amount of transportation they do for export companies.
No shipment of sheep has left Fremantle Port for 10 weeks, and it is unlikely that any of the remaining exporters will test the new requirements that have been put in place by the adoption of the McCarthy Review recommendations by the Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
Prior to the announcement by the regulator Emanuel Exports was still hopeful that it would be able to resume trade - with two livestock vessels the Al Shuwaikh and the Al Messilah waiting off the coast of Fremantle for the all clear to continue supplying Kuwait and other Persian Gulf States.
A response by the company and the State Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan, who has initiated her own investigation into the company under the State Animal Welfare Act 2002, will be provided today.