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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, moved a motion calling on the Federal Government to intervene in the animal welfare crisis on the MV Bahijah and to legislate an end date for the phase out of the live sheep export industry.

“Approximately 15,000 sheep and cattle onboard the MV Bahijah have endured inhumane conditions at sea for more than 30 days since being loaded in Fremantle for export to Jordan,” Mr Wilkie said. “The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has rejected an application to re-export the livestock for what would have been another month or more at sea. But this has been overshadowed by the shocking fact that the Department is now waiting on the private exporter to decide how to proceed, resulting in uncertainty and the prolonged suffering of these animals. The longer the animals remain on board, the greater the risk of illness, disease and death.

“I call on the Federal Government to intervene immediately to ensure the welfare of the livestock on the MV Bahijah by bringing the animals onshore and into quarantine. Moreover there must be a suspension of all live animal exports through the Red Sea until the current conflict in the region is over and the risk to crew and animals subsides. The Government must also commit to a timeline for the phase out of live sheep exports and legislate an end date immediately.”

Mr Wilkie’s parliamentary motion came as reports emerged of another live export ship, this one carrying 60,000 sheep, being recently granted approval to sail via the Red Sea.