THE State Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan has put her support behind the live export trade today after it came to light that Animals Australia had attempted to disrupt the final voyage destined to leave Fremantle on Saturday for the Persian Gulf.
Ms MacTiernan responded to reports, that Animals Australia had submitted a 700 page document in which Rural Export and Trading WA had to respond to by midday today, that it was "not a constructive way to deal with issues in the live export industry".
"Industry and animal welfare groups have known for months that shipments would be allowed in May, and industry has planned around those rules," Ms MacTiernan said.
"A last-minute attempt to stop the shipment just causes chaos and creates a whole new potential animal welfare issue for the 56,000 sheep currently in a feedlot awaiting export.
"This shipment should be allowed to depart, and during the northern summer pause in June we can continue to finalise the rules and regulations for exporters into the future."
Ms MacTiernan said the new standards imposed higher obligations in respect of May but "if there is a case that these are not adequate, then this needs to be examined in an orderly way, so industry can plan around it".
WAFarmers livestock section president David Slade said he applauded the minister's response and said it should have been up to the Independent Regulator to review the report and respond on the exporter's behalf, not left up the exporter to do.
"From what I have heard there was a lot of stuff in the submission that was out of date and so it should have been dealt with by the regulator," Mr Slade said.
"Animals Australia has lost credibility due to the alleged cash for cruelty scandal and should not be listened to."
Other sheep producers have taken to Twitter calling for the Federal government to withdraw Animals Australia's charity status and suggesting that the activist group was planning to make the submission for months, although expecting to be dealing with a Labor Agriculture team which had vowed to phase out the trade and would have looked upon their cause more favourably.
Animals Australia have not responded to Farm Weekly's questions.