‘The whole state is outraged’: Tony Seabrook, president of the Shepherds’ and Cattlemen’s Association, criticizes Murray Watt over ban on live exports

‘The whole state is outraged’: Tony Seabrook, president of the Shepherds’ and Cattlemen’s Association, criticizes Murray Watt over ban on live exports

WA Shepherds and Cattlemen’s Association president Tony Seabrook has criticized Agriculture Minister Murray Watt’s legislation to formalize the end date for the export of live sheep by sea.

It was announced in early May that the government would pledge $107 million to support the “phasing out” of live sheep exports, with legislation formalizing the end date as May 1, 2028.

With this legislation, the Albanian government fulfills an electoral promise it made in 2019 and then in 2022.

Watt said the policy allowed the Australian sheep industry to “plan effectively” for the future.

“We have put $107 million on the table to ensure those affected by removal are well positioned and ready when trade ends in May 2028,” Watt said.

“While live sheep export figures have plummeted over the past 20 years and now account for just 0.1 per cent of all domestic agricultural exports, sheepmeat exports are soaring.

“Australia is now the largest exporter of sheep meat to the world, with almost $4.5 billion of chilled and frozen sheep meat exported in 2022-23 alone.”

Once the legislation is passed, additional information on “transition support programs” will be available in the second half of the year to help people “begin to prepare.”

In response to the recent move to ban live sheep exports, a major convoy of up to 1,700 vehicles arrived in Perth on Friday in a “Keep the Sheep” protest.

Speaking to Sky News, Seabrook said thousands of small business owners woke up in the early hours of the morning to make their way to rally points and start the convoy to Perth’s CBD to protest the ban on the export of live animals.

“There were four convoys, three of them large, the one I was in was five kilometers long and Minister Watt stood up and said that was his democratic right. It was absolutely huge. It was spontaneous, it was barely organized a week before it happened,” he said.

“Farmers are absolutely angry with this minister we call ‘agriculture’. He is not ‘pro-agriculture,’ he is against us.”

Seabrook said “all kinds of people” were present in the protest convoy, not just ranchers.

“Everyone across the state is outraged by what this minister is doing because closing this business will kill a lot of rural towns, large numbers of people will lose their businesses, rural towns will shrink, and for what?

“We are the best in the world, the best in the world in this growing live export trade, we set the standard everywhere, and this guy takes orders from the left, from the Greens.

“Just to get some inner-city votes from Melbourne and Sydney, he’s willing to throw farmers under the bus.”

The farmers are

Seabrook said the sheep ban had “nothing to do” with live exports but was entirely political.

“We are so good at what we do and this has nothing to do with live exports or science, it’s just dirty politics,” he said.

“He just wants the votes of the Greens and animal welfare people in inner-city Melbourne and Sydney.

“The destruction it will cause here – the trade will continue, it won’t stop, it will continue from all sorts of little shit places in the world that don’t have any standards… You should be proud of what we do. “, not trying to close us down.”