WAMMCO Chief Executive Des Griffiths has warned producers the processing industry would be unable to handle the current numbers shipped live if the live sheep export trade was shut down.
He was responding to a question from former WAMMCO director Mike Norton on the Cooperative’s policy on the live sheep export trade at the recent annual meeting of members at Katanning.
“Despite claims that we should be exporting processed sheepmeats instead of sending animals live on boats, the reality is that there is no longer the processing capacity in WA to handle the large number of sheep now going for live export,” Des said.
“It would probably take between one and two years to bring the processing industry up to the stage where it could handle these extra numbers, - if you were able to find someone prepared to invest the money.
Des said the industry was also suffering serious labour shortages and individual processors like WAMMCO were now highly specialised in processing value added lamb and other products.
“WAMMCO takes the view that the live sheep export trade helps producers to maintain the sheep/wool/meat mix and that it is essential to everyone that it remains.”
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