WA Government investigates live export cruelty complaint

23 May 2005



Peak animal welfare body Animals Australia has applauded the decision by the WA State Government to investigate its benchmark complaint which alleges that live sheep export breaches WA animal protection legislation.

Animals Australia had received expert legal advice that live sheep export from Fremantle breached Section 19 (1) (3) of the WA Animal Welfare Act 2002. The Act states that it is an offence to ‘transport an animal in a way that causes or is likely to cause unnecessary harm.’

As a result, in November 2003, investigators from Animals Australia and UK-based group, Compassion in World Farming, travelled to Kuwait where they documented the condition of Australian sheep on arrival of the livestock vessel MV Al Kuwait.

The evidence gathered, combined with 20 years of documented research into the known causes of suffering and deaths aboard live sheep vessels, led to Animals Australia lodging a complaint and file of evidence alleging a breach of Section 19 (1) (3) with WA Police.

In June 2004, Animals Australia placed the responsibility for the complaint with the WA government. In January this year Animals Australia commenced proceedings in the WA Supreme Court seeking a Writ of Mandamus in regards to the government’s failure to instigate an investigation.

The States Solicitor’s Office, acting for the Director-General of the Department of Local Government and Regional Development, has advised Animals Australia that the government is now investigating the complaint.

Glenys Oogjes, Executive Director of Animals Australia:

“We welcome this decision by the WA Government. Both the Federal and State legal experts have confirmed that Animals Australia’s legal advice regarding jurisdiction was correct. We are confident that a full government investigation will further support our expert legal advice and find that there is extensive evidence available to support a prosecution.”

“This investigation is the most significant of any ever undertaken in Australia into an animal welfare complaint. Regardless of the arguments for and against live animal export, if live sheep export is found to breach Western Australia’s animal welfare legislation, it has to end. ” said Ms Oogjes.

read the background to the investigation at
Animals Australia or Liveexportshame



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