WA and Commonwealth laws ruled not inconsistent over live export

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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The Awassi Express previously berthed at Fremantle Harbour.
Camera IconThe Awassi Express previously berthed at Fremantle Harbour. Credit: Seven News

A WA court has ruled the State’s animal welfare laws are not inconsistent with the Commonwealth in terms of live export, providing clarity over a long-contested point relating to a high-profile animal cruelty case.

The decision in the Magistrate’s Court was handed down today in the continuing Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development prosecution of Emanuel Exports.

The decision supports the State Government’s position that WA’s animal welfare laws can be applied to live animal exports without necessarily conflicting with Commonwealth law.

Perth-based Emanuel Exports directors Graham Daws and Michael Stanton have each pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of animal cruelty over the Awassi Express voyage in 2017, when thousands of sheep died.

The company — which is also facing animal cruelty charges — has also pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for Emanuels, Mr Daws and Mr Stanton had called for charges to be dismissed, arguing they fall outside the State’s legal jurisdiction.

But Magistrate Evan Shackleton said he found certain section of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 supported charges against the accused and were not inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth.

Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan welcomed the decision.

“This clarification is important for both industry and government in understanding our responsibilities in relation to welfare on board live export ships,” she said.

Emanuel Exports is due to next appear before the court in October.

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