Live Animal Export ‘Keniry Inquiry’
– October /December 2003.
Animals Australia approach
Download Full Report (.pdf
Animals Australia (AA) has decided not to spend time providing a comprehensive
submission to the so-called ‘Keniry Inquiry’ into some aspects
of live animal export. Animals Australia’s time and resources are
currently fully focused on further investigation of the live export trade’s
inadequacies and in heightening the community’s knowledge of this
The AA decision not to participate fully in this review has been taken
because of two primary aspects;
that the composition of the Keniry review team is not ‘independent’
of the livestock industries and, that the ‘terms of reference’
provided to the review team are narrow, and therefore its’ recommendations
will not be satisfactory. N.B. The AA decision is both political and practical,
and if our members/supporters feel they wish to express their views to
the Keniry Inquiry, then they are encouraged to do so (see end of document
for contact details).
Background to the Inquiry
The inquiry was announced By Minister Truss in early October 2003 (as
the sheep on board the Cormo Express entered their 10th week on the water),
to enable ‘a viable and sustainable livestock export industry’
(Truss media release of 10/10/03).
At this stage the Review team does not intend to hold public hearings.
Written submissions are due by Friday 21 November 2003, and the Review
team is to report to Minister Truss by the end of December 2003. It will
be then be up to the Minister to decide whether it is released publicly.
return to top of page
Independence of the Inquiry
Who is on the Review Team?
Dr John Keniry is to chair the Review. He is the past President of the
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chairman of the Ridley Corporation
(which among other things produces stockfood), and has ‘a lifetime’s
experience in agribusiness’.
The other members of the review team are:
- Mr Murray Rogers, chairman of the Quarantine and Exports Advisory
Council. Mr Rogers is also chairman of the National Management Group
established in 2001 to help forge a national approach to managing possible
- Professor Ivan Caple, Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Dean of
the faculty of Veterinary Science at Melbourne University. Professor
Caple is also chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Animal
- Dr Michael Bond, Assistant Veterinary Director of the Australian
Veterinary Association, and a former Director of Animal Health in the
WA Department of Agriculture, and former chairman of the Veterinary
Surgeons Board of WA. Dr Bond traveled to Eritrea as part of the team
overseeing the unloading of the MV Cormo Express.
- Mr Lachlan Gosse, a sheep and cattle producer from Hallett, South
Australia. Mr Gosse has extensive livestock industry experience and
has been a member of a number of State and national advisory bodies.
Dr John Keniry on ABC on 13/10/03 was quoted:
"What we're looking at in our terms of reference is to review all
the procedures in place and see where they need to be improved or strengthened,"
"The presumption at this stage would be that we will be able to
come up with procedures and particularly fall back plans that will allow
it to continue."
return to top of page
Terms of reference
The review team will examine:
(i) the adequacy of welfare model codes of practice as they apply to
the preparation and export of livestock;
(ii) the adequacy of current regulatory arrangements for the live export
trade from farm of origin to ultimate destination;
(iii) the types of livestock suitable for export, especially ewes;
(iv) the need for supervision of each export voyage, in a manner that
ensures accurate and transparent reporting of the condition of the livestock;
(v) the specific factors that contributed to the excess mortalities
on the MV Cormo Express V93 with particular reference to compliance
with the requirements of the Saudi Livestock Export Program and associated
arrangements for the Saudi market.
In undertaking the review the Review Team will take into account the
recommendations of the Independent Reference Group in 2002 and implementation
of the Action Plan for the Livestock Export Industry (APLEI) announced
in October 2002, which is now being progressed through the Livestock Export
Industry Consultative Committee (LEICC), and in particular the adequacy
- the legislative and administrative arrangements being developed, including
industry arrangements for developing and enforcing appropriate standards
for livestock exports;
- and risk management strategies necessary to address the health and
welfare of animals during an export journey, including measures to ensure
the live export industry is able to manage unforeseen events associated
with the trade.
As the above indicates clearly – the intention is for the live
export industry to continue.
Even if an adequate ‘system’ can be put in place to minimize
the number of animals that suffer and die on ships, these Terms of Reference
do not address the inevitable problem of the way our Australian animals
will be treated in the importing country. While (ii) above refers to ‘ultimate
destination’, Australian regulations cannot reach further than the
ship, and thus the ‘destination’ is effectively the port of
the importing country.
As if to underline this point, on Monday 3 November at the Senate Estimates
Hearings in Canberra, Mr Dean Merrilees of the Department of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Forestry was questioned closely by Senator Kerry O’Brien
(Opposition Spokesperson on Agriculture) –
‘Senator O’BRIEN—How does the government
monitor animal welfare at foreign abattoirs that slaughter Australian
animals exported to those countries?
Mr Merrilees—In a formal sense, we have no formal
monitoring program at foreign abattoirs. It is a matter for the sovereign
country to put in place any practices that they wish.
Senator O’BRIEN—So we have no protocols
with any foreign nation about how animals will be treated upon landing?
return to top of page
The Animals Australia response to the Keniry Review
AA will instead provide Minister Truss with an alternate view; merely
a brief listing of the ‘evidence’ we hold (much of which has
already been provided to the Minister and which details conditions for
our animals in several Middle East countries) and advise him that we see
little point in providing Dr Keniry’s team with anything more than
this list, given the limiting terms of reference and the public statements
by the Minister and Dr Keniry.
AA believes that regardless of any improvements that may be made in preparation
of animals in Australia, their on-board conditions and management, and
even protocols to ensure unloading at first/intended destination, their
treatment in other countries is, and is highly likely to remain, unacceptable,
and therefore the trade is unethical and must stop.
A copy of the letter to Minister Truss (and the brief listing of material
held) will be provided to Dr Keniry with a cover letter to explain that
while we have a keen interest in the topic, we will not provide a formal
submission to an inquiry which has such limiting Terms of Reference.
AA members & supporters – what can you do?
If individuals wish to provide their own views to the Keniry Inquiry,
then by all means do so. If individuals provide their views on the animal
suffering caused by live animal export there will be a necessary reinforcement
to the Review members that the community opposes live export.
Submissions are due by 21 November 2003, in writing to
Livestock Export Review
PO Box 3318
MANUKA ACT 2603
Or by emailing email@example.com
Inquiries can be made by phoning (02) 6295 9074.
Prepared by G Oogjes
return to top of page