By Jeremy Sollars
Federal Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud has reacted with disgust after being shown footage shot by Animals Australia from a live export ship on which 2400 sheep are said to have died from heat stress en route to the Middle East.
The incident relates to a shipment of some 64,000 sheep sent from Fremantle to the Middle East in August last year.
Mr Littleproud says he was “shocked and gutted” by the footage – which Animals Australia has given exclusively to Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes program – and has demanded an investigation by his department.
“I’ve seen that footage and I was absolutely shocked and gutted,” Mr Littleproud told ABC Radio earlier today.
“This is the livelihoods of Australian farmers that are on that ship.
“That is their pride and joy and it’s just total bullshit that what I saw is taking place.”
The Department of Agriculture released a report on the incident last week but Mr Littleproud said he only saw footage of the sheep on Wednesday of this week, praising Animals Australia for showing him the vision.
“This cannot go on,” he said.
“If you are doing the wrong thing you are going to get nailed.
“We saw sheep that basically died from a heat event that were left and decayed, that were unable to get to water and food, and it disturbs me greatly that this has happened.”
The ship, the ‘Awassi Express’ is operated by Emanuel Exports, based in Perth.
It is believed the live shipment encountered extreme heat and humidity in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
The company has said the incident has prompted it to change its protocols, such as reducing stocking rates in summer.
The live sheep export trade is worth $250 million a year to Australia’s agriculture sector.