WEST Australian sheep farmer Bindi Murray was horrified by footage of sheep being brutally slaughtered in Karachi.
But she retains confidence in Australian animal trade welfare regulations and will keep selling her stock for export to the Middle East, The Australian reports.
The recently-named Young Farmer of the Year and the state's peak farming body yesterday both defended the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, saying it was impossible to guarantee what occurred in other countries.
More than 21,000 Australian sheep were culled on the orders of Pakistan's Sindh provincial government, which said they were diseased despite independent tests showing they were fit for human consumption.
The sheep had been rejected by Bahrain on the basis they had common scabby mouth disease and were then bought by Pakistani importer and meat processor PK Livestock.
In a grim assessment, WA Farmers president Dale Park said yesterday: "Until we have the next disaster, we still have an industry." Sheep prices plummeted after they were rejected by Bahrain and the first round of culling in Karachi in September, leaving many WA sheep farmers under financial strain.
Ms Murray, who runs a sheep farm with her husband Hamish at Woodanilling, 250km southeast of Perth, said graphic footage of the first cull shown on Monday on the ABC's Four Corners program had been particularly hard to watch.
"That was horrible," she said.
But she thought it was an "exceptional circumstance" and maintained her faith in the ESCAS. "I'm confident in the ESCAS system," Ms Murray said. "We need to take this situation for what it is: basically, a local government in one region hijacking sheep. It was done at gunpoint."
She supported the ban by the industry on exports to Bahrain and Pakistan. "My personal feelings are that specifically with Pakistan we need to get to the point where we are confident situations like that are not going to occur before we even consider reopening the trade," Ms Murray said.
Mr Murray said people needed to understand how important the live export trade was to WA farmers. He said there were still four or five Middle Eastern countries which wanted Australian sheep and the industry would survive.
The sheep's exporter, Fremantle-based Wellard Rural Exports, did not respond to request for comment.
Read more on The Australian.