Author Topic: Live export cruelty a blot on Australia - Chris DeRose, Herald Sun 04.04.2012  (Read 949 times)

Export News Tasmania

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AUSTRALIA is a proud and beautiful country. The people are warm, progressive, well educated and known across the globe for their outstanding hospitality.

Sadly, the world was shocked when we became aware of the horrific circumstances that Australia's live export industry was willing to subject animals to in order to provide them to the Middle East, South-East Asia and North Africa.

Images of Australian cattle being eye-gouged, kicked, whipped and tortured created an outpouring of rage across the globe. The vision the world had of Australia as an ethical and forward-thinking nation changed in that moment.

We were stunned to learn that, despite years of evidence documenting the cruel treatment of Australian animals throughout the Middle East, the live export industry has retained the unconditional support of successive federal governments.

Moreover, this support was in direct conflict with the views of the vast majority of Australians, who were appalled by their country's participation in this trade.

Australia's willingness to sell animals to countries that fail to comply with international animal welfare guidelines has actively undermined the work to encourage animal welfare improvements in those countries.

How can an industry that has been responsible for the suffering and deaths of countless millions of animals maintain government support and be allowed to continue?

Providing animals to countries where there are no laws to protect them from cruelty is simply further evidence of the immoral nature of this industry and the failure of the Australian Government to listen to its people.

Every decent person across the world applauded the action taken by the Gillard Government to suspend the trade to Indonesia, as well as the tabling of legislation to ban live exports. It was taken for granted that a vote in the Australian Parliament to end the trade would be unanimous.

We were therefore appalled to learn that both main political parties refused to support this legislation, despite overwhelming support from the Australian community.

The questions need to be asked: why do the operators of an industry that brings such shame on Australia and is responsible for such suffering have a stranglehold over Australia's decision-makers? How can so few counter the opinions of so many? Some things are just wrong and no amount of profit, no amount of excuses, will make them right.

Present initiatives by the Gillard Government to regulate this trade are all too little, too late, and they are not working. Animals Australia recently released footage of the continued brutality, even after the new framework to protect animal welfare was put in place.

Despite promises from the Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig, the Gillard Government has not made any progress in preventing Australia's animals from being tortured.

The only way to repair the damage done is for the trade to be banned and, through doing so, to finally send the right message to importing nations: animals and their welfare matter.

To all of you united in opposition to this cruel trade, be heartened by the fact the international animal welfare community and all who are compassionate worldwide are with you. Our message is: do not give up.

We will throw our weight and support behind your efforts until your Government recognises its responsibility to ban this cruel and immoral trade in living beings: a trade that brings great shame not only on Australia but on humanity itself.

> Chris DeRose is the president and founder of Last Chance for Animals, a US international animal rights organisation