Kuwait looking beyond Aust for sheep: CEO
May 24, 2018
Kuwait's Livestock Transport and Trading (Al Mawashi) is in talks with possible new sheep exporters following the introduction of legislation in Australia's parliament to ban the export of live sheep, its chief executive says.
A private bill by NSW MP Sussan Ley to end live sheep exports follows an outcry in Australia after footage emerged showing 2,400 sheep dying from heat stress on a ship bound for the Middle East last year.
"Our trust in Australia as a supplier of sheep to Kuwait has weakened," CEO Osama Khaled Boodai told a press conference on Wednesday.
Boodai said the Kuwaiti company, a major importer of Australian sheep, was in talks with South Africa, Sudan and Horn of Africa countries as part of its efforts to diversify its sources of livestock.
"In 2018, we will start importing from new countries other than Australia," he said.
He said majority state-owned Al Mawashi, a major supplier to other Gulf Arab states such as Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, imported 1.28 million livestock from Australia in 2017, mostly sheep.
Australia is one of the world's largest exporters of livestock. While the bulk of its meat exports are processed, markets such as the Middle East and Indonesia prefer to buy live animals.
The Australian industry has been rocked by revelations of animal cruelty on a 2016 voyage to the Middle East.
The Turnbull government last week announced a series of reforms to the $250 million live export industry including more room for sheep on ships and reducing the number of animals aboard.