Author Topic: Live ex unsustainable: RSPCA  (Read 718 times)

Export News Tasmania

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Live ex unsustainable: RSPCA
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 08:27:24 PM »
EVERY year for the past nine years the Australian government and the community have been shown the truth about the treatment of Australian animals exported for slaughter – yet the cruelty has continued.It took Four Corners and an unprecedented level of community outrage about the cruel treatment of Australian animals, to bring the live export trade to a momentary halt and to put in systems that require, rather than “encourage”, the bare minimum of standards.

Many have described the Four Corners revelations, subsequent community outcry and suspension of the trade as what was needed to spark change. And there has been some progress.
The fundamentally ill-conceived restraint boxes installed by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and LiveCorp with Australian taxpayer funding that saw cattle trip, fall and repeatedly slam their heads onto a concrete slab can no longer be used to slaughter Australian animals. (Yet they are likely still being used for Indonesian cattle.)

Perceived barriers to stunning animals unconscious before slaughter are being overcome. Supply chains are identified and animals traced. For the first time, exporters are now responsible for the treatment of animals every step along the chain.

Some cattle producers have learned the hard way they have to be selective about who they sell to as they cannot trust exporters to ensure their animals are handled and slaughtered in a manner that will meet their own - let alone Australian community - expectations.

And no-one should fool themselves that the live export industry is even close to meeting these expectations.

In Indonesia, exporters had the opportunity to limit themselves to the 55 abattoirs that, as a result of the suspension, now practice pre-slaughter stunning. But instead they continue to add supply chains that use abattoirs where un-stunned slaughter is the norm. In doing so they not only risk the welfare of the animals destined for these abattoirs, but also the welfare of producers, because wherever un-stunned slaughter is carried out cruelty is inevitable.

The new regulatory system is not a cloak of protection for exported animals. The auditing system, where the exporter chooses and pays the auditor, has already failed. The most recent investigation in Indonesia found that previous audits of the two abattoirs found in breach of requirements did not pick up serious shortcomings with equipment, training of workers, standards and handling of animals. These abattoirs were using the latest Australian-designed slaughter boxes.

The Northern cattle industry has operated on a knife edge for years. They have relied predominantly on one customer – Indonesia – and have been the victim of a volatile policy environment that has seen multiple changes to quotas over recent years. Yet in this highly risky and unpredictable sector – subject to rapid changes in customer requirements, trade barriers and currency fluctuations, let alone public exposure of the cruel treatment of animals – governments, producer organisations and MLA have done little if any planning or investment to ensure options other than live exports are available for producers into the future.

It is particularly disappointing that governments seem unwilling to support the development of alternative options for cattle producers. Instead they remain blindly wedded to an unstable and controversial industry, putting at risk the reputation of Australia’s valuable domestic and export meat-processing sector.

Community interest and expectations about the treatment of animals are increasing – across all ages and income levels. Forward-thinking livestock producers and industry sectors are taking stock of these community expectations, comparing them to their current practices and making changes to quickly get them in balance.

A clear message from the Australian community over this past year is that there should not be one standard for the treatment of Australian animals in Australia and another for Australian animals exported live for slaughter.

That cruelty is inherent to the live export trade is not in question. As long as animals are sent to countries where there are no adequate laws to protect them, they will be at risk. While ever animals are transported on lengthy sea voyages, they will be at risk. No longer can anyone say they did not know – be they a producer, government or industry representative.

The scramble by exporters to maintain all their markets, despite the enormous gaps between current practice and the new supply chain requirements, demonstrates how little animal welfare really matters to the main commercial beneficiaries of this trade.

It is time for producers themselves to take responsibility – to ask questions, to look and assess what is happening to their animals overseas and be a stronger voice for alternatives to live export.   HEATHER NEIL, CEO RSPCA AUSTRALIA 16 Jun, 2012

http://theland.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/opinion/comment/live-ex-unsustainable-rspca/2589362.aspx?storypage=0
     
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 09:18:46 PM by WA Export News »