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Second live sheep export licence suspended

The company at the centre of the live export scandal has suffered another major blow after being slapped with a second suspension on sending sheep to the Middle East.

Tens of thousands of animals are in limbo after the Agriculture Department denied EMS Exports, a sister company of Emanuel Exports, a permit to send 45,000 sheep to Kuwait.

It comes after Emanuel's licence was suspended last month following revelations of horrific sheep deaths on one of its voyages, which plunged the industry into crisis.

Emanuel Exports director Nicholas Daws took over from his father Graham Daws after the first suspension was imposed on the company.

"Emanuels has been advised the export licence will remain suspended pending a full review," Nicholas Daws said of the second licence.

EMS remains responsible for the sheep, which are in a feedlot.

Agriculture Department veterinarians have determined they are in good health and well-cared for.

EMS wanted to take about 45,000 sheep from Fremantle to Kuwait on the Al Shuwaikh, but will now face a full review following the suspension.

A separate smaller sheep shipment to the Middle East was expected to follow.

Despite the latest controversy, Nationals leader Michael McCormack is adamant Australia must stay in the trade or other countries with worse animal welfare standards will step in.

"We need the live sheep trade to continue. The fact is we need to continue to put animal welfare front and centre," Mr McCormack told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.

West Australian Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan urged Emanuels to sell the stranded sheep to local processors to be killed for packaged chilled meat.

She doesn't believe sheep can be humanely transported to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer.

"Other companies have accepted that's the problem and stepped away," Ms MacTiernan told ABC radio.

Animals Australia say they're relieved by the suspension after earlier threatening to stop the export with Federal Court action.

"The possibility of these sheep being exported by an affiliate of suspended exporter Emanuel Exports has had both the public and politicians shaking their heads in dismay and disbelief," Animals Australia's Lyn White said.

Footage from the Emanuel Exports-chartered Awassi Express sparked outrage in April, after it showed thousands of sheep dead, dying and suffering in their own filth and extreme heat on their way to the Middle East.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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