Author Topic: Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie to try to introduce Members Bill for prestunning  (Read 708 times)

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Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie to try to introduce Members Bill for prestunning
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 09:38:34 PM »
Wilkie stuns with new bill

BY COLIN BETTLES 07 Sep, 2012 03:15 PM

INDEPENDENT Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie is planning to introduce a Private Members Bill into the House of Representatives in Canberra on Monday, to mandate pre-slaughter stunning for all Australian livestock in export markets. Mr Wilkie’s latest move is prompted by fresh allegations of cruelty to Australian livestock in export markets, again via footage taken by Animals Australia at the infamous Al Rai meat market in Kuwait City.

Last week, Animals Australia presented the Federal Agriculture Department with the new evidence of alleged cruelty to Australian animals, sparking an immediate investigation.

Again, the unconfirmed footage of alleged animal cruelty to Australian animals aired on the ABC TV’s Lateline.

Last night’s episode showed Animals Australia investigator Lyne White declaring photographs provided as evidence were of merinos and merino crosses and that Australia was the only country which supplies them to the Middle East.

“They also have green tags in their left ear, which are Australian tags,” she declared.

“The vision that we provided of sheep being slaughtered in a backroom just shows typical slaughter in that market.
“They are dragged from their pens on their backs; they are thrown on top of other dying sheep.

“And then - this particular animal has its throat cut with a short knife and I believe it's up to 24 times that that blade is cut across that animal's throat.

“That will have suffered an elongated, painful, terrifying death.”

In the program, Department deputy-secretary Phillip Glyde said he advised the Kuwait government and exporters potentially involved, of the existence of information, and that an investigation had commenced.

The program said Animals Australia had also captured evidence of cruel transportation and killing methods at the same market place in 2010 – but it’s not an accredited facility under the government’s new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).

A Department spokesperson confirmed they were investigating a complaint received on Thursday 30 August 2012 alleging that Australian sourced sheep were being offered for sale and slaughter outside an approved supply chain in Kuwait.

“The complaint - including video footage provided on August 31 - was submitted by Animals Australia,” the spokesperson said.

“The ESCAS regulatory framework for livestock exports provides for the investigation of allegations of non compliance and regulatory action where appropriate.

“DAFF has commenced a thorough investigation and will report on the outcomes in due course.

“This process is expected to take some weeks.

“It is the responsibility of Australian livestock exporters to ensure they meet the requirements of the ESCAS.”

Mr Wilkie said the latest “revelation” makes a “mockery” of the Australian government’s “supposed efforts to clean up the industry”.

“The fact clearly remains that Australia’s live animal export safeguards remain ineffective and our livestock, in particular cattle and sheep, are still being routinely abused en route to and in overseas markets,” he said.

“I’ve already given notice of another Private Member’s Bill to mandate stunning of all Australian livestock being slaughtered overseas and I’ll introduce it to Parliament next Monday.”

Last August, on the back of the Indonesian live exports fiasco, Mr Wilkie introduced a Bill that aimed to phase-out live exports by mid-2014 amid moves to strengthen on-shore processing to create local jobs and boost the frozen and boxed meat trade.

But the proposal was comprehensively beaten with only Mr Wilkie and lone Upper House MP Adam Bandt voting for it.

In another vote at the same time, Mr Wilkie was the only MP who supported Mr Bandt’s proposed legislation which aimed to end the live export trade immediately.

His latest Bill appears likely to suffer the same fate with Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig saying the government had made its position on stunning clear.

“We support and encourage the use of stunning in the processing of livestock,” he said.

“As with many of our export partners, we are signatories to an international agreement on animal welfare.

“This agreement does not include stunning as mandatory - but it does encourage it.

“What we can acknowledge is the speed at which the industry has moved towards stunning.”

The Farmer Review said it did not agree that stunning should be mandatory for livestock exports.

“It does believe that the Australian government and industry should take steps, as has already happened in Indonesia, to promote good animal welfare practices,” the review said.

“This will not succeed if handled insensitively or with any sense of imposing Australian or ‘higher’ values or standards.”

Shadow Agriculture Minister John Cobb said the Coalition wasn’t supporting Mr Wilkie’s Bill on mandatory stunning.

Mr Cobb said the Coalition’s position on the stunning of export cattle in Indonesian abattoirs aligns, and must comply, with international OIE standards and, wherever possible, exceed those world standards by using stunning equipment.

He said by favouring abattoirs that adopt stunning, “We can create the case for change in practices to see stunning practices become more widespread and accepted as the norm”.

Mr Cobb said he would wait and see what the outcome of the DAFF investigation was and if any compliance action was required, it will be applied appropriately.

He said the Coalition broadly supported the Farmer Report’s recommendations to beef-up supply chain assurances and expand tracking systems, to account for all Australian animals entering live export markets.

Mr Cobb said in relation to animal welfare standards overseas, of the 109 countries that export live animals Australia is the only nation significantly investing in animal welfare in destination markets.

“If Australia was to short-sightedly ban live exports, animals would be sourced from other countries that neither impose our high domestic standards, nor work with destination countries to implement higher standards,” he said.

“By remaining a major player in the live export market, Australia’s decision to supply cattle to those that are doing the right thing is the best possible tool to drive animal welfare reform in other countries.”

Australian Live Exporters Council chief executive Alison Penfold said Mr Wilkie’s proposed Bill, to mandate stunning, was an issue that’s been raised previously and addressed.

She said stunning wasn’t mandated in Australia and the OIE provides guidelines that allow for stunning and non-stunning, which was the basis for designing the ESCAS.

“It’s a matter for sovereign countries to determine what course of action they take,” she said.

“It’s a bit rich setting one standard here and another one overseas.

“ALEC has a policy to support stunning and stunning rates have increased in Indonesia to about 80 percent of approved facilities using stunning, since ESCAS was implemented, coming off just 16pc before ESCAS was introduced.”
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 09:40:21 PM by WA Export News »