February 13, 2004



Australian Live Sheep and Cattle Shipment Rejected By Israel


A shipment of Australian live sheep and cattle was rejected by Israel.

WA-based Wellard Rural Exports was in the process of loading 5000 sheep and 1500 bulls earlier this week, when it was advised by quarantine authorities that Israel would not accept the consignment.

Israel has confirmed two outbreaks of foot and mouth disease affecting 66 cattle there, and is rejecting any imported livestock not vaccinated against the disease.

Steve Meerwald, from Wellards, says half the stock were loaded and sent to the Port of Aqaba, but instead of being transported over the border to Israel, they'll be kept in Jordan.

He says it's a blow, in one of the few markets left in the Middle East.

"Saudi's obviously out. On an economic basis, we can't viably ship any cattle to Egypt, which was the other significant market, or the most significant market. So Israel and Palestine has been a little bit of a shining light, they've been predominantly taking bulls and it's been quite a buoyant market and we would hope that there's the ability between the Australian and Israeli Governments to be able to work out a solution that will allow livestock to go through; not only cattle of course, but the few sheep that go through as well."

Israel is Australia's fifth largest export market for livestock, worth around $30 million.

Kevin Shiell from the exporters' body Livecorp says all live trade with Israel has been halted, and he's unsure when it will resume.

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