CANBERRA, June 23 (Xinhua) -- An Australian company at the center of the recent controversy over live sheep exports has had its licence revoked by the federal government, local media reported Saturday.
Australia's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources announced on Friday it suspended Emanuel Exports's live export licence, pending a review of the company's response to a "show cause" notice.
Shocking video footage emerged in April of sheep being exported from Australia in appalling conditions aboard the Awassi Express vessel stocked by Emanuel Exports.
The vision showed sheep crammed into dirty pens, panting from heat stress and leaping over each other to access food. Carcasses were piled high and some thrown overboard as 2,400 stock were lost on the voyage in 2017.
Horrified viewers joined calls to ban the live trade altogether.
In effect, the department decided to removes 50 percent of the country's live sheep export industry.
Fellow exporter Livestock Shipping Services has already decided to suspend its live sheep export trade, following proposed new rules that would cut stocking density by 28 percent in the interests of animal welfare.
Emanuel is under criminal investigation and two departmental investigations into both the company and the Awassi voyage after allegations of overstocking, failing to have sufficient food and water available, animal injury and illness not being treated, and accredited vets and stockmen leaving vessels prior to unloading.
The department said in a statement that the laws that regulate livestock exports require the health and welfare of animals.
"It is the responsibility of each exporter to ensure it meets those obligations," it said. "The department takes those responsibilities very seriously."