Australian vet, Dr Bruce Syme, who founded Castlemaine-based business Vets All Natural, said he believed sheep trading was an “outdated trade” and should be morphed from live exports to chilled/frozen meat exports.
The call came as Australia endured a turbulent start to 2018 in terms of livestock exporting after video footage emerged showing sheep being exported in humid conditions from Australia to the Middle East, resulting in 2,400 deaths.
Following the scandal, the Australian government introduced the McCarthy Review, which is a list of 23 recommendations for traders to improve conditions for sheep exported to the Middle East during the summer months.
Bruce argued that introducing chilled/frozen meat exports would create a growth in a new domestic industry, with farmers maintaining their livelihoods and preventing communities and animals from suffering.
“We had a long history of convicts and corporal and capital punishment, but we 'evolved' from that past, just as we must evolve from a history of live animal export,” said Syme. “Nothing short of a complete ban will stop the suffering of these animals.”
Australia’s Veterinary Association (AVA) recommended that the Government should end live sheep exports to the Middle East between May and October, adding that there was no way to eliminate the risk of sheep dying from or suffering heat stress during those months.
Syme has called for other veterinarians to voice their concerns by sharing their knowledge on the subject.
“Given that vets are required on all live sheep export vessels, we do have the power to put a stop to this practice. As a profession, we can just say ‘no’. And vets are the legal and moral voice of the silent animals in this country,” Syme added.
“Australia’s peak veterinary association, veterinarians around the nation, members of the federal opposition, members of the WA government, and animal welfare organisations are all saying the same thing – stop the barbarism now. This is the 21st century, not the Middle Ages.”