The West

Farmers future focus of crucial meeting
WA sheep disposed of in Pakistan. Picture: ABC

More than 100 farmers are expected in Katanning today for a crucial meeting on the future of WA's sheep meat and live export industries.

The sheep industry is reeling after the brutal slaughter in Pakistan of sheep from WA.

A big drop in prices has also hit farmers and sheep numbers in WA are at their lowest since the 1950s.

Sheep Industry Leadership Council chairman Rob Egerton-Warburton said the meeting would give farmers accurate information after a 30-40 per cent drop in prices and protests about live exports.

Though live exports numbers were high this year, recent events in Bahrain and Pakistan had created a backlog and a buyers' market.

Mr Egerton-Warburton, who spent four months overseas on a Nuffield agricultural research scholarship, said Australian farmers led the world on animal welfare.

"You can't just send boxed meat to these markets (in the Middle East), they want the live animals as well," he said. "If we don't supply it, one of the 100 other countries that live export will step up."

Department of Agriculture and Food research shows the WA industry was at tipping point, with flock numbers down from 25 million to 14.5 million in six years.

Australian Livestock Exporters' Council chief executive Alison Penfold will address the meeting, which will be broadcast live on the internet and to six regional agriculture department offices.

The West Australian

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