Australia Resumes Live Export of Sheep to Bahrain
By Vittorio Hernandez | March 3, 2014 9:34 AM EST
Sheep shearers insist they could be Olympians. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis
YouTube/The Australian Greens
Australia is expecting higher export of live sheep and cattle after the Bahrain market reopened over the weekend, while major blocks to resuming live animal trade with Iran has been removed.
It was the result of the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council removing the 18-month ban on live exports to Bahrain after the two governments agreed on health protocol for sheep. In 2011, Bahrain imported 400,000 live sheep from Australia, but Bahrain authorities rejected 20,000 sheep exports from Wellard, a WA-based exporter, in 2012 because of alleged disease of the animals.
The sheep were instead sent to Pakistan where it was culled brutally which raised furor among Australian farmers and animal welfare groups.
The anticipated boom in live animal export is because of the increased demand for these commodities and a decision by the federal government of Australia to remove a major condition on opening markets which is having a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with any new live export market.
With these developments, exporters were told at a major cattle conference in Broome on Saturday that Western Australia's live exports to Indonesia could double to $400 million yearly by 2025.
The growth in the Indonesian market is due to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce not opposing the plan by Indonesian exports to purchase buying stations in Australia's north to build the trade. In 2013, live cattle export to Indonesia went up 63 per cent to 454,152, and it is expected to reach 720,000 in 2014 after Indonesia scrapped its import quota system and replaced it with a price-based market regulation system.
With the new policy, Mr Joyce said live sheep export to Iran, expected to resume within months, could reach 1.3 million.
However, the RSPCA criticised the removal of the MOU requirement that animals must be unloaded on arrival regardless of their health status.
RSPCA said in a statement, "Without these arrangement, there will be no measures in place in new markets to reduce the potential for rejected cargoes such as the Ocean Drover by Bahrain in 2012, or the Cormo Express by Saudi Arabia in 2003."
Expected to benefit from the anticipated increase in live animal export are raisers from WA, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
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