SUSSAN Ley is believes the end of Australia’s live export trade is in sight, though it may not be dependant on the successful passage of her private members bill calling for its cessation.
The Farrer MP was invited to speak at St Matthew’s Church on Sunday morning, as part of the parish’s celebration of St Francis’ Day, and the blessing of the pets.
Sunday’s service was a little unusual in many ways – the presence of a number of four-legged friends the most notable.
Several parishioners brought their dogs to be blessed by Father Peter Macleod-Miller, while there were a further two special guests seated just in front of the pulpit – two sheep.
As the service proceeded, interspersed with the occasional bouts of barking and bleating, Ms Ley was invited to the pulpit to speak about her change of heart when it came to her bill to ban the practice of live animal exports.
“The bill is still before the Parliament, but more importantly the bill and the scrutiny the trade has been under since this issue was raised has meant that we haven’t seen a shipment in the whole northern summer leave Australia,” she said.
“I think it’s an example of a lot of good people working together, and my bill is part of that, but there is a lot more going on that is aimed at ending this awful trade.”
Ms Ley said attitudes within the industry were steadily changing as the trade has come under scrutiny in recent years.
Crucially, she said, there is a possibility of the practice coming to and end for purely economic reasons within the next five years, independent of her bill’s passage through Parliament.
“Its purpose was very much more to raise the issue, which it really did, and to educate and inform,” she said.
“I had to do a lot of research to event get to the stage where I could submit a bill.
“I’ve spoken to exporters themselves and many have said they don’t have confidence in the future of the trade.
“I feel very strongly that we’re on target to end the trade within five years.”
Ms Ley added the upcoming release of the Department of Agriculture’s Moss review would be an important milestone for efforts to end the live export trade.
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