David Jochinke, NFF President, National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), Media Release, 2 February 2024
The situation surrounding the MV Bahijah livestock vessel is an extraordinary and complex situation that must carefully consider the health and wellbeing of the animals, Australia’s biosecurity status, export legislation and international trading partners.
There are processes that must be followed and external complexities that must be considered, but we must now see a timely resolution to this matter.
In light of misinformation being purported, it is however especially important to highlight key facts with respect to animal welfare arrangements on the vessel. As advised by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry:
- The exporter’s registered veterinarian has remained on board the vessel throughout the entire time,
- The Department has engaged two veterinarians who have inspected the livestock and vessel,
- Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Beth Cookson is closely monitoring the situation; and
- Dr. Cookson has advised “the livestock are in good condition and have appropriate care and supervision”.
Australian producers place the upmost importance on the welfare of animals, and Australia holds the highest standard of welfare both at home and in the export markets and this situation demonstrates just how this works in practice.
The NFF strongly supports the oversight and processes of Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer.
The NFF does not support calls for the Minister for Agriculture’s resignation. In fact, we hope this situation demonstrates how robust Australia’s live export system is with animal welfare at the forefront.