Letter campaign to save export industry

Letter campaign to save export industry


Agribusiness
 Geoff and Michelle Gooding pose for a selfie on the family farm at Darkan where they operate a 70 per cent sheep and 30pc cropping program.The Goodings are one of a group of families that have undertaken a letter writing campaign to defend the live sheep trade.

Geoff and Michelle Gooding pose for a selfie on the family farm at Darkan where they operate a 70 per cent sheep and 30pc cropping program.The Goodings are one of a group of families that have undertaken a letter writing campaign to defend the live sheep trade.

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BA GROUP of WA farmers have been conducting a letter campaign to preserve and defend the live export trade.

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BA GROUP of WA farmers have been conducting a letter campaign to preserve and defend the live export trade.

Michelle Gooding, Darkan, said members of her local farming group have been actively sending letters to both WA and Federal politicians to show support for the trade, which has been under threat from a "vocal minority".

They have since had feedback from many politicians to say they've received a significant number of emails from farmers in support of keeping the live export market.

The group was encouraging others, to also "take the time to send letters/emails and be the voice of reason in what can be such an emotive topic".

Ms Gooding said she was surprised to receive many replies to her letters which showed that her efforts were worthwhile.

The Goodings are fourth-generation farmers living in the heart of the "wool belt", where they operate a 70 per cent sheep and 30pc cropping enterprise.

Ms Gooding said the group didn't want to make excuses for the incident that occurred last year on the Awassi Express, or "accept in any way those appalling conditions faced by WA bred sheep, but rather we would like the opportunity for the livestock industry to continually improve its standards".

"We're concerned that if we don't stand up and be counted, that the flow-on impact to rural communities who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods will be immeasurable," Ms Gooding said.

"It is my belief that the current method chosen by politicians to listen to the vocal minority with no skin in the game (so to speak), should not be condoned.

"They are ignoring the voice of those directly affected.

"Many of us asked that when they were making their decisions they consider the impact these decisions would have on our families and our communities, and choose to support the agricultural industry, and with it, Australia's future".

Ms Gooding pleaded with politicians to allow the McCarthy Review recommendations to be implemented and that the industry be allowed to continue to improve its standards.

She said everyone needed to acknowledge the gains already made and the ones to come from the implementation of the McCarthy recommendations, for changes to both the Livestock Export and Maritime Shipping Regulations.

"Assist us in making those changes, instead of making it more difficult by taking away our markets and damaging our overseas credentials as being a reliable supplier of affordable, good quality, foodstuff," Ms Gooding said.

She has asked politicians to make their decisions based on facts without being swayed by "uninformed outpourings from a vocal minority who will never be content".

"If they get their wish, and export livestock trading from Australia ceases, then we believe that animal welfare standards will actually decline, as other countries with lower welfare standards than Australia will happily fill the gap."

For those wanting to become involved, a letter template and contact addresses are available by emailing fightforag@gmail.com

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