Ban live exports and process here, Murray Bridge Cr Karen Eckermann says | POLL

Cartoon: Cathy Wilcox.
Cartoon: Cathy Wilcox.

The economic argument against exporting live animals is just as strong as the moral one, a Murray Bridge councillor says.

Karen Eckermann has long been an advocate for animals, pushing for a humane solution to her city's feral cat problem and helping found Murraylands Animal Welfare Watch.

But a ban on the live export of sheep would also have direct benefits for local meat processing companies, she suggested.

"Australia exports around two million live sheep each year," she said.

"These sheep will all be slaughtered and processed in the destination country; their meat may then be on-sold to other countries in direct competition with Australian meat exports, taking value away from SA farmers, businesses and abattoirs.

"Murray Bridge is home to Thomas Foods International, which is well regarded as a meat processor and has the potential scope to increase employment opportunities for employees and suppliers."

She called for the Murray Bridge council to write to the state government and encourage it to consider supporting a live export ban.

"Even if one could put aside the ethics of an industry that has suffering and cruelty intrinsic to its business model, as does live animal export, surely it is in our best interests to pursue expanded meat processing for our region when a chance arises," she told her fellow councillors at a meeting on Monday.

"I can confidently assert that the huge majority of the local community, the South Australian community and indeed the Australia-wide community is in sound agreement that these long-haul shipments of animals to the Middle East should immediately cease."

However, no such majority showed itself at the council meeting.

Cr Eckermann's idea was voted down 7-2, with only Cr Airlie Keen's support.

Afterwards, Cr Eckermann said she was disappointed at the outcome.

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