Greens say cruelty at Echuca abattoir shows lack of monitoring by regulator and need for independent office for animal welfare

Friday, November 25, 2016

“The cruelty revealed at the Riverside abattoir in Echuca this week is shocking and simply inexcusable”, Victorian Greens animal welfare spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik said today, ‘but where was the regulator?’

“This terrible example of a culture of systematic cruelty by staff in this abattoir demonstrates why we need an Independent Office of Animal Welfare in Victoria,” Ms Pennicuik said.

“Once again, this behaviour was not detected by the regulator that is meant to be monitoring the industry. It was uncovered, presumably by a whistle blower who sent the footage to Animals Australia, who passed it on to the regulator.”

“It has been reported by the government that “Victoria’s meat and seafood regulator, PrimeSafe, ‘took immediate action’ after receiving a complaint”

“My question is, if the regulator has ‘taken action’ against this abattoir for cruelty offences previously, why wasn’t it being more closely monitored to prevent such an occurrence?”

“Clearly this abattoir has not been monitored by the regulator, as it should have been, given its past history,” Ms Pennicuik said.

“This begs the question, what is the level of scrutiny and monitoring of other abattoirs and are similar cruel practices happening in other abattoirs?

The government reports that the regulator, PrimeSafe “identified breaches of the mandatory welfare standards’ – this must be the understatement of the year,” Ms Pennicuik said.

“The government has also asked the Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Charles Milne, to ‘lead an additional investigation by Agriculture Victoria to identify whether any breaches of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 have occurred and if so, to determine what further action should be taken to hold those responsible to account’.

“I am concerned that the CVO didn’t appear to know what was going on in the abattoir, just as the regulator didn’t and now the government has commissioned an investigation by Agriculture Victoria, which is not independent.

“This shocking incident demonstrates why we need an independent office of animal welfare in Victoria which has the welfare and best interests of animals, not commercial profits, as its priority,” Ms Pennicuik said.