Author Topic: Live ex shrugs off body blow - Usual propaganda from usual suspects  (Read 991 times)

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Live ex shrugs off body blow - Usual propaganda from usual suspects
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2012, 04:38:05 PM »
Live ex shrugs off body blow

THE Australian Live Exporters Council has rejected key messages and assertions underpinning a political and commercial publicity stunt targeting the live export trade by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Body Shop. The joint Stand Up for Animals campaign was launched last month and will run from July 30 to August 19.

Body Shop employees at the retail outlet’s 90 national stores are encouraging customers to sign petitions that will eventually be delivered to the Federal Government and MP’s voicing public opposition to the live export trade.

In addition, those who can’t sign the in-store petitions are being directed online to a website that sends an automated letter to MP’s, denouncing the trade as being “shameful” or “abhorrent” and calling for its end.
Body Shop stores are also distributing promotional flyers to customers highlighting three “myths” including that recent changes to the way live exports operate – by the Federal government and industry – has made the trade humane.

“Around 28,000 animals die en route each year and many will be slaughtered whilst fully conscious,” the flyer says.

The promotion also makes several other partial and misleading statements including quoting as fact that independent research, commissioned by WSPA and conducted by Lonergan Research in May this year, shows that almost 70 percent of Australians believe the export of live animals should be ended.

The Body Shop website states, “Millions of Australian animals are shipped live overseas annually”.

“During the journey animals can suffer heat stress, disease, cramped conditions and appalling handling and slaughter techniques, which can lead to a slow and terrifying death,” it says.

“You can help us tell the government we want them to move towards the alternatives.”

The promotional material also suggests live exports should be phased-out and moves made towards “viable alternatives” like on-shore processing, or an expanded chilled or frozen meat trade, due to live exports posing long-term risks for Australian farmers.

That would also be a better economic option for creating jobs and prosperity and for animal welfare.

ALEC chief executive Alison Penfold declined to comment on the nature of any specific publicity seeking “stunts” conducted by other groups or organisations, against the live export trade.

But she pointed towards independent research, recently commissioned by Newspoll, which strongly contradicted the WSPA’s and Body Shop’s own research, and their anti-live exports campaign message.

She said respondents to the Newspoll survey were given a choice between a total live export trade ban and allowing Australian animals to be exported to countries that adhere to standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Given a choice, 82 percent of the participants said live exports should be allowed to those countries using OIE standards, which also underpins the Federal government’s new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).

In 2011, the same survey question provided 79 percent support for allowing the live export trade to OIE participating countries and only 18 percent supported the total ban, with 15 percent in 2012.

Ms Penfold said the Newspoll survey results also helped to support the viability of Australian sheep and cattle producers who participate in the live export trade and other farmers and workers, employed in the industry.

“It puts a different and a more realistic spin on the perspective of these campaigns going against the trade,” she said.

In contrast, the Lonergan Research asked participants to agree or disagree to three key questions - that live exports are cruel; live exports should be ended; and would you be more or less likely to vote for a political candidate who promised to end live animal exports.

Since last year’s abrupt suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia by Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, a rapid increase in the uptake of pre-slaughter stunning, which eclipses ESCAS requirements, has also been reported.

In a recent interview with Fairfax Agricultural Media, Ms Penfold highlighted three key animal welfare outcomes, one year on from the Indonesian ban.

She said 81 percent of approved slaughter facilities in Indonesia were now using stunning; coming off a base of 16 percent when the ban was implemented, in June 2011.

Ms Penfold said dedicated animal welfare officers are also now overseeing processing to ensure animal well-being meets required standards.

There’s also an ongoing program of practical training and skills development for Indonesian staff involved in animal welfare throughout the supply chain. 

Reports have also suggested Indonesian cattle importers are installing CCTV equipment and processes in abattoir facilities, to improve monitoring standards in addition to existing and demanding transparency measures, at their own cost.

However, the WSPA/Body Shop campaign material fails to adequately highlight or failed to include mention of these various animal welfare improvements, made over the past 12 to 14 months, which Ms Penfold said worked to appease community concerns about the trade.

Ms Penfold said she’d not yet seen the in-store flyer that underpins the WSPA and Body Shop campaign to read and examine exactly what it contains.

But she said if it promoted any misleading or factually incorrect information to the public, she would write to the Body Shop’s management or WSPA seeking any corrections and may also consider pursuing other regulatory recourse, if required.

“The community generally understands the economic impacts and benefits of live exports in the broader agricultural trading landscape,” she said.

“Some people may suggest there are viable alternatives to live exports but none of them are agricultural economists.

“If there were any real alternatives the market would make that determination.

“At the moment the market determines that there is a commercial reality to live exports and not on-shore processing.

“We don’t expect every person to support the trade – we just hope they get the facts right.”

Speaking to Fairfax Agricultural Media, WSPA Campaign Manager Jodie Jankevics said the campaign material had tried to portray balance and acknowledge improvements had been made in animal welfare in live export markets, and the uptake of stunning facilities in Indonesia since last year’s trade suspension.

“We’re not anti-farmer or anti-pastoralists - if we can come up with a solution that allows on shore processing, that’s what we’re pushing for rather than a ban on live exports per-se,” she said.

Ms Jankevics said they had to refine campaign material down from larger reports to make it more consumable for the general public.

She said on September 11, WSPA would be releasing a report by Acil Tasman into the northern cattle industry, which included consultation with industry stakeholders, looking at the feasibility of a northern abattoir, transport issues, farm gate adjustments around cattle breeds and economic demands and why other abattoirs have failed in the past.

In a statement launching the campaign, Body Shop Australia CEO Mark Kindness said his company was “proud to support WSPA in a campaign that seeks to find alternatives to live exports while simultaneously safeguarding existing jobs and creating new opportunities in Australia”.

« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 10:09:12 PM by WA Export News »