Author Topic: Exporters insult the intelligence of public with excuses for slaughter cruelty.  (Read 915 times)

WA Export News

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Revolt looms over cattle cruelty.

 TROUBLE is looming on Julia Gillard's backbench over live cattle exports, with a Labor MP already questioning the minor sanctions for two companies that breached animal welfare rules.

Victorian MP Kelvin Thomson yesterday called on the government to suspend or cancel the licence of North Australian Cattle Company Pty Ltd and International Livestock Export Pty Ltd after their Indonesian abattoirs were found not to meet government standards.

A Department of Agriculture investigation found NACC had 14 breaches and ILE 23, including failing to check whether cattle were dead, slaughtering distressed animals and subjecting them to procedures that caused pain and suffering.

The report -- sparked by graphic footage obtained covertly by Animals Australia in January -- found the breaches represented "a systemic loss of control over animal welfare" at the Jakarta abattoirs.

It recommended the department tighten the export permits of the two companies, ensuring they hire animal welfare officers at the abattoirs and undergo further independent audits.

But Mr Thomson criticised the penalties yesterday, saying the public would expect a stronger response after last year's Indonesian live cattle export scandal.

"These two exporters should have their licence suspended or cancelled," he told The Weekend Australian. "When the trade was resumed last year the government said the industry was on notice so I think the public would expect that any exporter now found guilty of treating animals inhumanely would be run out of the industry."

Mr Thomson was one of a number of Labor MPs who staged a public revolt against the Gillard government's decision to reopen the trade last year, and said stunning of cattle before they were slaughtered should be made mandatory. He was also disturbed that the breaches came to light only via covert footage.

"You have to wonder whether we are really only seeing the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White said despite Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig's insistence that the system was working, the investigation report suggested otherwise. "(These findings) reveal a fatally flawed system."

ILE director Mike Stanton yesterday said the mistreatment depicted in the footage was not systemic but rather an isolated case. He said the company had installed CCTV cameras in its abattoirs and increased training.

A spokeswoman for Elders, which owns NACC, said the company was implementing the recommendations. "These non-compliances . . . represent a small fraction of throughput under the new system," she said.

by: Milanda Rout
From: The Australian
May 19, 2012