Photo: Fiona Goodall (Getty Images)

Sometimes I come across a story that is weird enough to be newsworthy, but also beautiful fodder for puns. This story is a prime example, so I’m throwing it to you wordsmithing commenters like a slab of bacon to a hungry dog. Without further ado: The fate of 60,000 Australian sheep is in limbo after Emanuel Exports, a company planning to ship them to the Middle East for slaughter, had its exportation license revoked. Now, this giant herd of sheep is hanging out in a Perth feedlot with mutton to do while officials try to sort out a plan.

Western Australia Today reports on the wooly situation, which began when the Department of Agriculture suspended Emanuel Export’s license on Friday. It was revoked following outrage over the deaths of more than 2,000 sheep aboard the ship Awassi Express this spring due to heat and overcrowding. That same company is linked to the 60,000 sheep now left at the feedlot awaiting a new destination, which led to animal-rights protests against the company last week. One could call it sheer madness.

According to WA Today, another company has offered to buy the 60,000 sheep, but Emanuel Exports is trying to get a “closely associated” entity to ship them overseas instead. (No word on whether owners are on the lamb at this time.)

“We do hope Emanuel will work constructively with those processors to make sure that the animals are not left in an unmanageable situation,” local Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan told WA Today.

The concern is that the “closely associated” entity shares the same management and ownership, and would seek to ship the sheep overseas during the Middle East’s hottest summer months. Some agricultural officials and animal rights groups are worried Emanuel is merely trying to pull the wool over their eyes with this new deal.

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