Ban would be detrimental to Mid North farmers

EXPORT BAN: Farmer Philip Johns says a ban on live exports will be detrimental to local farmers.
EXPORT BAN: Farmer Philip Johns says a ban on live exports will be detrimental to local farmers.

The call to ban livestock exports has Port Pirie farmers and local politicians concerned, as the consequence of the ban would have relaying economic impacts across the region. 

Animal activists are wanting the Federal Government to implement the ban immediately following the death of 2,400 sheep aboard a ship used by Western Australia-based Emanuel Exports in 2017, but for many farmers in the Mid North,  feed for animals is limited and they are ready to send sheep off to boats for export.

Yet with uncertainty surrounding, they may need to be sent to land options which decrease the price of the sheep.  

Mixed farmer Philip Johns’s family has been on their Nurom land since the 1890s and says the difference in price between a sheep in a sale yard, compared to the boat trade is $20 less. 

“For all farmers it would mean a reduction in price for livestock on sheep in particular”, Mr Johns said. 

It is nothing to do with what we are doing, but we will be the ones to suffer the consequences ...

“The boat trade tends to put a floor in the market and if you take that floor away, prices will probably come back.”

“If the boat trade was not in existence I would think that the difference in price between sale yard and boat would be something like $20 a head less.”

Federal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey has spoken out about the issues and has supported farmers who rely on the live export trade. 

“It is clear that this job can be done safely and humanely and failure to do so is failure by the exporters.”

“We need to clamp down on any rogue operators and review the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) to ensure that it is adequately regulating the industry.”

Geoff Brock, Independent Member for Frome vigorously supports Federal MP Rowan Ramsey on the clamping down of questionable operators. 

“I don’t want to see any detrimental effect on our electorate”, Mr Brock said. 

“Rogue exporters should not be allowed to export, but we don’t want to jeopardise our exports.”

“I know that farmers treat their animals with great care. Animals should be put before profit.”

Mr Johns is disappointed in the condition of the boats and sheep and questions how it could happen when good money is being paid for them and even more is paid when they are offloaded at the other side. 

“You would be endeavoring, I would think to get as many live sheep to the other end as possible.”

“It is a big loss. You are always going to get some loss, regardless whether on a boat or if they’re in the paddock.”

“But the loss on this boat was something in the vicinity of three per cent, which is too high.”

“The sheep can not even get into the feedlot unless they are A1 first class sheep.” 

“It is nothing to do with what we are doing, but we will be the ones to suffer the consequences because we are the ones who get left with the sheep and the ones who won’t get any money from it.”

The footage provided by a whistle blower was aired on the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes program on Sunday night, showing animals aboard the MV Awassi Express, struggling to breathe in addition to dead animals being thrown overboard. 

This story Ban would be detrimental to Mid North farmers first appeared on The Recorder.