Emanuel Exports’ live export licence has been cancelled by the Agriculture Department, following an investigation into potential breaches of the Meat and Livestock Industry Act.
The company’s licence had been suspended until now, after footage onboard the live export vessel Awassi Express in August 2017 was shown on 60 Minutes in April.
“The Department has made this decision in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act 1997, and has 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,” said a statement issued late Tuesday night.
“Cancellation of licence is a serious step and is not one taken lightly. The Department is satisfied that this is the most appropriate response.”
Emanuel Exports had been issued a show cause notice by the Department.
The images from Awassi showed sheep dying from severe heat stress and in filthy conditions, while the vessel was on its way to the Middle East.
The Department said at the time it was investigating allegations of overstocking of the vessel, failing to have sufficient food and water available, injury and illness not being treated and accredited veterinarians and stockmen leaving the vessel prior to completion of unloading.
In May, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud committed to implement the full suite of recommendations from the McCarthy Review into live exports, which he commissioned following the Awassi controversy.
More to come
Statement from the Federal Department of Agriculture
Following a thorough investigation and show cause process, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has cancelled the livestock export licence of Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd.
The department has made this decision in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act 1997, and has 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.
It is the responsibility of each exporter to ensure it meets the clear requirements under the legislation that governs the export of livestock. These are set out in section 23 of the Act. Importantly, this includes providing complete, accurate information to the regulator as to how regulatory standards and licence conditions will be met and have been met.
Failure to meet these requirements significantly undermines the legislative regime and, in turn, compromises the ability of the industry to export livestock in a manner that ensures the health and welfare of livestock.
Cancellation of licence is a serious step and is not one taken lightly. The department is satisfied that this is the most appropriate response.
The department will not provide further comment on this matter at this stage.
The Australian Government supports a sustainable livestock trade and expects exporters to meet their animal health and welfare responsibilities.
The department is implementing a series of changes to improve the sustainability of the trade with improved animal welfare outcomes. This includes those changes recommended by Dr Michael McCarthy in his review of the conditions for the export of sheep to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer.
The department stands ready to consider applications from exporters that meet the animal health and welfare standards required by the legislation.