I’m sorry to have to bring you this news on a Saturday. Just hours ago, we learned that the live export ship at the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak has been granted an exemption to export 50,000 sheep to Kuwait, despite the summer shipment ban in place.
As recently as last week, the application by the exporter to ship these animals was denied, on the basis that doing so could be catastrophic for the animals on board. But today, we have learnt that a second application by the exporter RETWA has been approved, and the Al Kuwait ship will be loaded to leave within days.
In reading the details of the decision made by the industry regulator, it is very clear that the commercial interests of the exporter has been prioritised over animal welfare. Inconceivably, the Regulator sought to justify this in stating:
“I found that the Australian public would expect that in deciding whether or not to grant the exemption, the Secretary (or his delegate) would have due regard to the rationale underlying the prohibition and balance the impact on the exporter and industry against the risk to the health and welfare of livestock.”
As you know, the majority of the Australian public are appalled that live animal export even exists, and have no sympathy for an industry that has built its enormous profits on mass animal suffering. To suggest otherwise, and use the Australian public as one of the justifications to grant an exemption, is outrageous, and exactly why your MP needs to hear from you today.
We have urgently gathered our legal team together this morning to examine whether any avenues exist to appeal this decision. I don’t want to get your hopes up, because when this legislation was written, limiting any ability to appeal decisions would have been front of mind. But, be assured that if an avenue does exist — we will do all things possible to explore it and protect these animals.
Thank you as always for your kind heart, and for providing these animals awaiting export with a voice today.
I will be in touch soon with more.
For the animals,