Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hysteria overshadowing reality of live sheep exports

You have to hand it to Sue Kedgley. She knows how to push the Green Party agenda forward by using emotion over fact to benefit the cause.

In this case it is the Government's intention to end a six year moratorium on live sheep exports and Kedgley has ramped up the national sentiment to such a hysterical level it is almost impossible to find any real facts among the animal welfare banter.

Kedgley is a smart lady. By talking about 'ritual sacrifice' and reminding us of the Australian disaster when 5000 sheep died in 2004 she has guaranteed an outrage that is disproportionate to the reality - but why let facts get in the way of reality?

The truth is (for anyone not blathering on talkback radio today), that there is strict regulations governing the live export trade and it is in the best interests of the producers to deliver healthy sheep. MAF will have to be absolutely certain that these sheep will not be mistreated on the journey.

But let's be honest about this - Kedgley is absolutely right to say that many of these sheep will be used in Muslim rituals when they reach Saudi Arabia - and while that might not be comfortable in our culture, it it their prerogative to do what they will.

And while we're being honest let's just say that it's slightly hypocritical to suggest a live sheep export is abhorrent to our sensitivities when we cook live crayfish among other things, without much of a thought to how it got on our plate...and then of course there are the vegetables that scream in the pot...aren't they alive!!!

Business exports are valuable right now and while we can't put at risk our reputation, if this live trade can work, we owe it to our farming community and to our economy to give it a go.

This is not Australia and it's not 2004. In terms of animal welfare standards we have come a long way since then and Sue Kedgley knows this, so bravo Sue, you've put the Green Party in the headlines again, you clever clever gal.

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