Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) CEO Mark Harvey-Sutton has today launched a blistering attack on the blatant lies being perpetuated by activist groups and politicians about the MV Bahijah issue.
“Once again, activists are spreading lies to further their own cause and it’s time it was called out” said Mr Harvey-Sutton.
Last night two independent veterinarians attended the vessel and reported that the livestock remain in good health and there is no evidence of any significant health or welfare concerns. This has also been publicly stated by the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (https://www.agriculture.gov.au/about/news/mv-bahijah-live-updates).
“While industry has worked diligently with the Australian Government to resolve this issue in the full knowledge that there are processes and procedures to handle circumstances such as these, we, as an industry, have had to endure intolerable lies about what is going on – all from people that have never set foot on a livestock vessel once in their lives.”
“Last night I saw a representative of the RSPCA on television, when asked what conditions were like on the vessel, describing the most horrid conditions without a scrap of evidence to support their claims. Even at one point describing Western Australian farmers as having “disgusting” views about the conditions on board – well how the hell would the RSPCA know?”
“Despite repeated invitations to RSPCA to go on a vessel tour they have never once accepted,” he said.
Mr Harvey-Sutton said it is appalling that such ludicrous claims were being made without firsthand evidence.
“The same goes for Labor backbencher Josh Wilson, who called on people to come and protest the industry, unprofessionally describing it as “rotten the core”, yet the best that could be mustered is 100 people with nothing better to do standing on the wharf – representing 0.004% of the population of Perth.”
“This hardly seems the “community backlash” that those opposed to the trade cling to when seeking to justify banning live exports, all the while clutching at clickbait surveys and push-polling that harvest outcomes in their favour as evidence,” he said.
The only scientifically verifiable community sentiment research that exists has been conducted by CSIRO off shoot, Voconiq, showing that a majority of people do not oppose the trade. ALEC also has political polling that shows that the marginal Perth electorates do not oppose the trade and support farmers.
Mr Wilson also claimed that the trade is “virtually defunct” – again a blatant lie, given sheep volumes have increased by 40% and the Saudia Arabia market has just reopenend, and one that he should have the courage to say to the faces of the thousands of farmers in Western Australia who make a living from it.
No doubt all these parties are cynically viewing this as an opportunity to further Australian Government’s ill-informed policy to phase out the industry. A policy that even the Premier of Western Australia has said should be reconsidered demonstrating his strong support for the live export industry and Western Australian Farmers.
“While these activists are basking in their five minutes of fame, they are conveniently ignoring the fact this vessel returning has its roots in a very serious issue that is affecting our country’s economy and contributing to the cost-of-living pressure as well – attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. This issue must always be viewed in the context that this vessel had right to navigate this route and it was prevented from doing so.”
“By pushing these mistruths, these groups are proving they are no friends of the Australian community, and they are certainly no friends of the thousands of hard-working people employed by agriculture. But why let the truth get in the way of facts?”
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