AUSTRALIAN livestock exporters have endorsed market suspensions on Malaysian importers and facilities which have failed to comply with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) during the annual Korban festival period in September.
Under ESCAS requirements, Australian livestock must not be sold outside of approved supply chains and cannot be purchased for home slaughter or for slaughter at facilities that have not been approved as meeting international animal welfare standards.
Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive officer Simon Westaway said poor welfare outcomes were not condoned nor excused by exporters.
“As shown in the past month, not only in Malaysia for Korban but in the Middle East during Eid al Adha, transparency and accountability are important at all times in our industry and absolutely pivotal when problems in the supply chain are detected.”
Mr Westaway said exporters were cooperating with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) in its investigations regarding supply chain leakages.
“Wherever deliberate supply chain breaches occur, the extensive powers regulating our markets should be exercised accordingly,” Mr Westaway said.
“Australian exporters have acted swiftly to identify non-compliant facilities in Malaysia, so that where there is clear evidence that our livestock export standards have not been respected, immediate market sanctions can be applied.
“Our message to the Malaysian supply chain is very simple. Just as Australian exporters must treat their ESCAS compliance obligations as absolute non-negotiables, our Malaysian partners and customers must do the same.”
Mr Westaway said while a number of facilities had already been suspended subsequent to information provided to DAWR by exporters, further sanctions were likely and could include industry action in accordance with the Malaysia ESCAS Control and Traceability Agreement, which came into effect on June 10.