Live Export Shame has been developed for the purpose of informing the general public within Australia and overseas on all the issues surrounding the live export industry and the involvement of the Australian Government.
Live Corp is the key player in the live animal export industry in Australia and is owned, funded and controlled by the live animal exporters; however funding also comes from the Federal Government and has done for a number of years, via the ‘Pay as You Earn’ Australian taxpayer. This figure is apparently for ‘research and development’.
In 2001, vet Dr Petra Sidholm presented a comprehensive account to Government and industry (LiveCorp) clearly detailing the lack of any animal welfare standards in Australia’s Middle Eastern export markets. LiveCorp reacted with a personal attack on Dr Sidholm conceding only to installing a new restraining box into Bassatin slaughterhouse; the focus of the latest 60 minutes expose.
Animal welfare groups knew that conditions had not improved despite industry continuing to purport progress in animal welfare. Late 2005 and early 2006, Animals Australia investigated these so called ‘improvements’ and confirmed what they knew to be true. No improvements had been made; the restraining box is not and appeared never to have been used.
The public and primary producers have been duped for years by an industry covering up the facts. It is amazing that a commercial television station programme has to inform the Government what is happening in the overseas markets with our live animals. Should they not know? Should they not care? Minister McGauran responded to that question with: “its not my responsibility”. See 60 Minutes transcript.
In 2004 the Western Australian State Government budgeted $118,000.00 toward ‘monitoring the trade’. There is no monitoring the trade. Government does not monitor (as confirmed by 60 Minutes) and there is no independent policing of this live export trade.
LiveCorp is totally self regulating and perform their own audits, but only if animal mortalities exceed 1% for cattle and 2% for sheep aboard the ships. Other animals; goats, deer, camels and horses, are not subject to audit by LiveCorp.
The most recent disaster in terms of animal suffering and death occurred in 2003 with the Cormo Express, renamed Merino Express. This fiasco cost the Australian taxpayer in excess of $11m. There have been other numerous disasters, however, the costs to the taxpayer have never been publicised. see Death Files.
While the taxpayer continues to prop up and support a trade, which has been shown to be blatantly cruel thousands of jobs have vanished in Australia due to the abattoir closures.
According to the last figures there are approximately 35 livestock ships involved in transporting animals and 39 exporters in this industry.
The Economic Report shows just how un-profitable this industry is for Australia
7 Floating Coffins - 7 ships investigated by AQIS (Australian Quarantine Inspection Service) due to the high mortality percentages onboard.