SHEEP producers are being called on to fight for their industry.
With exporters' backs against the wall and markets being held up by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), producers are being urged to send messages to DAFF and the Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig about the importance of the live export trade.
Emanuel Exports managing director Graham Daws this week urged producers to act on behalf of their industry following issues with shipments to Egypt, Bahrain and Kuwait.
He said the only country which shouldn't be receiving livestock was Bahrain.
"It should be business as usual everywhere but Bahrain," Mr Daws said.
"Bahrain is just playing political games."
Earlier this month Bahrain had delayed the unloading of the MV Ocean Drover after two cases of scabby mouth disease were found in the 22,000 sheep on board.
Mr Daws, who returned last week from an Australian Live Exporters Council (ALEC) meeting in Canberra, said it was agreed that if a market made a mistake under the new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), then livestock shouldn't be sent to them.
"But the ones who have done the right thing should not be punished for continuing to do the right thing," he said.
Mr Daws said Australia was in danger of being viewed as an unreliable supplier of livestock and producers needed to be the ones to let DAFF know their concerns.
"It (DAFF) needs to make a decision," he said.
"It is like shutting down the farm for a month and not doing anything.
"You just can't do it."
Emanuel Exports has a vessel on its way to Fremantle now, which should arrive later this week, but Mr Daws said it would stay outside the port until the assurances were met and the all clear was given by DAFF.
He said the longer the ship was delayed the greater the cost to the exporter, ship owner and producers.
The company has stopped buying sheep and has postponed the delivery of all its current contracts.
Mr Daws said DAFF had been totally non-committal when asked when the situation would be resolved.
DAFF was contacted for comment but did not respond prior to going to print.
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