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Wellard statement on Bahrain and Pakistan sheep issue

4 November 2012

The events that unfolded with our shipment to Pakistan were unprecedented in more than 30 years of exporting livestock.

After the sheep were seized from us, many suffered terrible cruelty and we believe this is unconscionable.

We, like all Australians, were shocked at the events that occurred in Pakistan, and we are not exporting sheep there anymore.

We know and understand the Australian community demands Australian animals be treated humanely and respectfully at all times whether they are in Australia or overseas. We agree.

Our unwavering focus throughout this event has been on the care and welfare of the animals while keeping the Australian Government and public informed.

Once the sheep were taken from our control, we did everything in our power to bring them back into our care, to preserve our animal welfare standards and those expected by the Australian public.

The tragedy of this event is that the sheep were culled only metres from a world class facility that Wellard helped to develop for the processing of livestock farmed in Pakistan.

The Australian live export industry has achieved international agreements and advances that have led to considerable improvements in animal welfare in our end market over the past decade.

Obviously a failure has occurred in this instance and we are already meeting with the Australian Government to review what went wrong. We also continue to seek insights from key stakeholders about how to strive for further improvements to secure animal welfare in landing ports.

What is clear, however, is that failures in Pakistan do not mean that all sheep exports to all destinations should be banned. We do not accept that because of one incident in one facility in one country that all sheep exports to all facilities in all countries in the Middle East should be stopped. That’s not fair on the many people and communities who have embraced the international animal welfare standards we require.

What it does mean is that if any importer can’t meet international animal welfare standards, such as in this case, they will lose the right to receive our sheep.