EXPORT UNCERTAINTY: Jeffrey Agar with his stock, at Barbara Plains.
EXPORT UNCERTAINTY: Jeffrey Agar with his stock, at Barbara Plains. Tricia Agar

Local graziers braced for impact from live export fall out

FEDERAL Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has said the deaths of sheep on live export trade ships could have far-reaching consequences for graziers across Australia, including the Maranoa.

While live trade in Australia predominantly comes from sheep producers in Western and South Australia, Mr Littleproud said local graziers might feel the flow-on effects of any changes to exporting.

"If we don't have a sustainable live trade export then effectively it will have an impact on the overall price for sheep in Australia, so that would impact sheep producers in the Maranoa if the live trade wasn't to continue,” he said.

"It's about giving confidence to the community that the live trade export can continue with animal welfare at its heart.”

Mr Littleproud's comments followed two major announcements on Monday afternoon - the establishment of a whistle-blower hotline for anyone concerned about animal welfare and a review into live export shipping from Australia.

The announcements were made after the Agriculture Minister was shown footage by Animals Australia of live sheep on an export ship from Perth allegedly suffering and dying from conditions on board.

Tricia Agar, a wool producer from Barbara Plains, 26km west of Wyandra, said while she welcomed a review, changes to live exports would be a disservice to graziers andexporters.

"For the people that operate these boats, it's in their best interests to provide a live article at the end of the trip,” she said.

"They'll get paid for the numbers that come off, not for the dead ones.”

Mrs Agar believes that animal welfare groups pose a serious threat to the livelihoods of producers.

"For groups like Animals Australia and PETA, they don't want anyone to have any animal interaction whatsoever and their end game is to get rid of agriculture, which is totally illogical” she said.

Mrs Agar said animal welfare was at the heart and soul of all graziers.

"If you are as involved with animals like we are (at Barbara Plains), you're not going to be cruel to animals,” she said.

"If an animal is frightened or badly treated you are hardly going to get much money from that animal.

"We are a business and if we aren't in business, then who's feeding the nation?”