State Agricultural Minister Terry Redman has backed the live export trade and said it was the key to WA’s farming future.
Mr Redman said the State Government supported live export if it was conducted with regard to animal welfare.
“In five years I would like to see the beef industry have a strong export focus into secure, efficient supply chains in Asia,” he said.
“It is the government’s job to build and put in place the environment to allow business to thrive.”
Mr Redman said he was disappointed with the way the Federal Government handled recent animal cruelty in Indonesia, but he believed live export provided an alternative opportunity for farmers.
WA Farmers Federation president Dale Park said the livestock export trade was vitally important to Australian livestock producers.
Winnejup beef and sheep farmer Alison Wheatley agreed with Mr Redman’s statements and preferred to have the choice between domestic and export markets.
“Without live export there are no prices in the domestic market,” she said.
Mrs Wheatley said greens groups believed farmers sold “sick or dead” livestock and didn’t understand farmers’ dependence on live exports to make a living.
Bridgetown beef farmer Mike Introvigne said live export created market diversity and the current lack of exports had created a price decrease of at least 10 per cent.
Federal Greens animal welfare spokeswoman Lee Rhiannon said the public was distressed over live export cruelty and wanted the trade to end.
RSPCA national president Lynne Bradshaw said she was concerned about cruelty against sheep and cattle which recent news reports showed had occurred in Indonesia and Pakistan.
Mrs Bradshaw said the establishment of a processing outlet in northern Australia could contribute $204 million per annum to the economy and create 1300 jobs if it slaughtered 400,000 cattle per year.
Cattle and sheep products could then be exported as pre-packed, frozen meat.