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Calls to suspend Emanuel's export licence

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April 16, 2018

The MV Awassi Express is set to leave Fremantle after being at the centre of a live export row.

The ship at the centre of a live export row after shocking footage of sheep dying in sweltering conditions aired a week ago, is set to be cleared to travel to the Middle East.

The MV Awassi Express has been languishing in Fremantle Port as it undergoes improvements to meet new airflow standards implemented by the federal government, after 2400 sheep died from extreme heat during a voyage to the Middle East in August 2017.

Two other ships have been docked since the Awassi was grounded in Fremantle, with the MV Maysora departing for Turkey on Thursday with 77,000 sheep and 9500 cattle on board.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed the livestock carrier was granted an export licence and the voyage will be video monitored by a government inspector.

RSPCA Australia has offered to send its own, independent inspector on the next eight live export journeys, saying it is concerned the department is making decisions which do not reflect the serious risks to animal health.

"We need to make sure farmers and the public are not let down again, and that the welfare of these animals is properly monitored," RSPCA chief scientist Bidda Jones said.

Pressure for a ban on live exports has intensified with independent Tasmania MP Andrew Wilkie joining animal welfare supporters at a Hobart rally on Saturday, calling for an end to the "systemic cruelty" which he said had plagued the industry for years.

Fresh allegations of animal cruelty against an abattoir in Qatar caused the department of agriculture to suspend sheep shipments on Saturday and remove any remaining animals.

"The allegations include apparent onselling of sheep to private buyers from the approved supply chain, and mishandling of sheep at an (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) ESCAS approved abattoir in Qatar," the department said.

In a statement, the department said it was the first complaint it had received about sheep exports to Qatar since it rolled out its Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System in 2011.

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