Barnaby blows in for warm welcome

By Chris Thomson and Anthony Probert | posted on July 26, 2018

BARNABY Joyce’s dubbing opponents of live animal exports as “zealots” at a packed meeting of farmers in Katanning has been criticised by Animal Justice Party candidates in this weekend’s ‘Super Saturday’ by-elections in the Federal electorates of Perth and Fremantle.

On July 20, the one-time Federal agriculture minister told an estimated 1780 farming people that if calls to ban the export of live sheep succeeded, “zealots” would later target live cattle exports.

“They’re not gonna stop at the live sheep trade,” he said.

“Where will they go next? We all know where they’ll go next. Live cattle is where they’ll go next.”

Animal Justice Party candidate for Perth Nicole Arielli said she wanted to end live exports but her endeavours did not come from a place of zeal.

“We believe that in this day and age it is beyond belief to think we are still live exporting when we can look at other options here in Australia,” she told The Weekender.

“Calling us zealots is pretty arrogant, absurd.

“Obviously the Animal Justice Party is opposed to slaughter, but we’re more pragmatic than that.”

Ms Arielli said she wanted to work with farmers to “try and reach an agreeable point”.

“We do understand that, from the farmers’ point of view, it’s what they do, it is their livelihood,” she said.

“We’re not saying we want to stop live sheep exports right now.

“We want to stop them sending them in the peak of the heat, from April to October when they suffer the most, and look at working together on a transitional period.”

Also running for the Animal Justice Party – in the Division of Fremantle from where most of Australia’s live-shipped sheep are loaded – is Katrina Love, who says she hopes to pick up between four and eight per cent of available votes.

Ms Love said she’d take Mr Joyce’s “zealots” call with a grain of salt.

“I’m astounded that he got the accolades, applause and recognition that he did given he was the Minister at the time when the [Federal] Department of Agriculture was allowing all these regulation breaches to go unanswered,” she said.

“I think, essentially, Barnaby Joyce is to be held responsible for the way the industry has gone and the situation the sheep producers in WA find themselves in.”

President of WAFarmers’ Livestock Council David Slade said Mr Joyce’s presence was a show of support from a politician in the Federal sphere.

“There were 1780 people in Katanning, so it’s a massive statement, and shows just how concerned farmers are about the live exports issue,” said Mr Slade, who farms sheep in Mount Barker.

“It’s the biggest gathering of Western Australian farmers in 30 or 40 years.”

He said he would not go as far as calling opponents of live exports zealots.

“But their approach is an over-reaction to the situation,” he said.

“You don’t ban the ownership of dogs because you see two dogs fighting.

“You don’t ban the ownership of cats because someone has 50 cats inside a house.”

“If we do lose live export, we’re going to decimate the industry, particularly in WA.”

Mr Slade agreed with Mr Joyce that, if enacted, a live export ban would not stop at sheep but later extend to cattle.

While Mr Joyce was cheered several times during his address at the Katanning forum, State Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan was jeered in equal measures after telling assembled sheep farmers they needed a “Plan B” including exporting more chilled meat.

This weekend’s Super Saturday by elections, caused by resignations following the Federal MP citizenship fiasco, will occur in Perth, Fremantle and three other electorates interstate.