Author Topic: Desperate Michael Stanton tries to defend the indefensible  (Read 1051 times)

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Desperate Michael Stanton tries to defend the indefensible
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 03:26:30 PM »
THE managing director of the live export company at the centre of the recent Animals Australia footage of cattle in Indonesia being mistreated has slammed mainstream media reporting of the issue.

International Livestock Exports (ILE) was caught up in the footage shown nationally last week on ABC's Lateline program, after media reports suggested one of the steers shown was exported by the company.

Under the Exporters Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), which has been introduced into Indonesia and is in the process of being introduced into Middle Eastern markets, the onus is on the exporters to guarantee the safety of the animals right up to the point of slaughter.

In an exclusive interview with Farm Weekly this week, ILE managing director Mike Stanton hit back at certain sections of the media's reporting of the issue saying the coverage of old issues was "ridiculous".

In 2003, Mr Stanton was tried for animal cruelty charges relating to a shipment of sheep to the Middle East but was acquitted and was again found not guilty to animal cruelty charges in 2008.

Mr Stanton said "it was quite ridiculous" to be "bagged for something that I was found not guilty for anyway".

Mr Stanton reinforced his support for the ESCAS but admitted it would take time to implement such a major reform completely.

"I am not against the ESCAS system at all, it is the right direction (to take)," Mr Stanton said.

"It is one of these things that in Indonesia it requires more training, more monitoring and more resources to be put into the system and that's what we are doing."

Mr Stanton admitted it was hard to give a 100 per cent supply chain assurance, particularly when the reform was still in the early stages of implementation.

"The ESCAS system virtually kicked off at the end of July and Animals Australia has taken the footage in January - that's just six months," he said.

"There will be (slip ups).

"You look at any reform even in Australia and how it develops - it is a process and a work in progress."

When asked about the comparisons between the footage seen in Indonesia to the recent footage in an abattoir in Hawkesbury, New South Wales, Mr Stanton said there were laws here in Australia for the mistreatment of animals and that was what exporters were trying to implement in foreign countries.

"These things happen," he said.

"They will happen here and they will happen in another country.

"We don't like it to happen but we have come from a very low base and we are pushing pretty hard.

"There are detractors of the industry who don't want it to happen at all and they are going to keep hammering us.

"They will keep throwing information out there so that the press will say that we were charged for animal cruelty in exporting animals. Animals Australia were behind that but we were acquitted at the time."

Despite some doubt in the industry, Mr Stanton said he was not questioning the authenticity of the footage.

"We are not denying the footage at all," he said.

"We don't deny that was the abattoir and we don't deny there were non-compliant issues happening there."

Since the footage had been released ILE had suspended all live exports to that Indonesian abattoir.

Mr Stanton said there was another abattoir in Indonesia which ILE used to supply which was not stunning cattle before slaughter due to religious beliefs.

He said ILE was working with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to work out what options were available in that situation.

Mr Stanton said he supported CCTV in abattoirs but believed it wouldn't fix the issue.

"It is not an answer to everything," he said.

"More training is the answer and that is what is continuing to be done.

"I am supportive of CCTV because at least industry can monitor things when they are not there."

Mr Stanton said he had been in contact with DAFF since the footage was released but had not heard from Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig or WA's Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman.

Farm Weekly understands ILE has also launched its own investigation into the abattoir concerned and Mr Stanton said he was also supportive of the investigation launched by Mr Ludwig.

08 Mar, 2012