How we treat animals is an indicator of a caring society. The live export trade has been shown to be a cruel and inhumane industry. There is a sustainable alternative.
For decades Australian animal welfare groups and the media have exposed witnessed horrific scenes of the brutality suffered by our exported livestock in various receiving countries. The 2011 expose of the animal cruelty taking place in Indonesian slaughterhouses brought hundreds of thousands of Australians together to oppose the live export trade and the suffering it continues to cause to thousands of animals.
The government’s response to this appalling situation was to set up the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS) which aims to provide traceability and accountability in the live animal export trade. But it has not stopped the continuing revelations of Australian livestock being subjected to cruel and inhumane mistreatment.
The brutal killing of 20,000 Australian sheep in Pakistan in 2012 has been investigated in a government report which has still failed to hold anyone accountable. Indonesian live cattle exports have resumed.
The Australian Greens have introduced a bill before the Parliament, Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill, which would end live exports and the related cruelty.
The Greens are committed to keeping the pressure on the government to end the suffering of animals on long and perilous sea voyages to export markets and to push for mandatory pre-slaughter stunning in all Australian abattoirs.
We want to see improved and increased processing in Australia to support local producers and jobs. Processing animals in Australia protects them from inhumane treatment and ensures our laws and standards regarding animal welfare can be upheld.
The Australian Greens have also introduced a bill into the Parliament to establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare.
The Voice for Animals (Independent Office of Animal Welfare) Bill will establish an animal welfare champion to promote and oversee animal welfare.
It will be independent of government and the Department of Agriculture to ensure conflicts of interest that compromise animal welfare over profit are removed. The Office will be guided by the advice of an Animal Welfare Advisory Committee including experts in animal welfare, consumer groups, scientists and ethicists. The IOAW will also work to harmonise and improve animal welfare laws across the country.
On-going funding for the Office will be diverted from the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry’s Animal Welfare Branch. An initial investment of $500 000 will be made for establishment costs.
The answer to the live export trade is the substitution of chilled meat export to our overseas markets. Further developing the highly successful chilled meat export industry will benefit the cattle industry, increase employment as well as improve animal welfare. The Greens support:
The development of new meat processing facilities in northern Australia by providing incentives to help open abattoirs in a staged fashion, to assist producers to sustainably grow domestic processing.
Removal of trade distortions and more intensive marketing of Australian meat overseas. Working with industry, the government should actively lobby for an end to subsidies and tariffs which favour the live export trade and put more resources into promoting the boxed meat trade.
Boosting the skills of workers by providing assistance to help attract and train Indigenous and other meat processing workers to serve a new, strong domestic meat processing industry.
Labor’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS), designed to follow animals from farm to slaughterhouse has not improved live export outcomes. Labor’s National Conference resolution from more than 2 years ago to create an independent office has not been implemented.
The Liberal-National Coalition continues to support the cruel live export trade, despite the lack of oversight Australia is able to exert on overseas facilities.