Author Topic: Make your vote count - Opinion Piece Tasmanian Times  (Read 973 times)

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Make your vote count - Opinion Piece Tasmanian Times
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2013, 05:28:41 PM »
Some things are so obscene, and so depraved, that nothing can ever justify them, and the live animal export trade is absolutely one of those things.

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Be careful what you wish for when you cast your vote at the September Federal election. A vote for the coalition will see even more support for the gross animal abuse seen throughout Animals Australia’s 19 investigations. Tony Abbott says ‘one of his first jobs will be to apologise to the Indonesians for the ‘catastrophic’ ban on the cattle trade’ there following the exposure of similar torture of our cattle shown on the ‘Four Corners’ program’A Bloody Business’  in May 2011. In this, the Gillard government and the Abbott coalition are as one.

Will Abbott and his sycophants also want to apologise to Egypt? Bahrain? Kuwait? Pakistan? Malaysia? And all the other countries to which Australia happily sends millions of innocent, gentle animals to be so heinously abused? Tony Abbott wants to make the all-but-meaningless ESCAS ‘more exporter friendly’, if that is indeed possible.
 Jacob, the Australian bull filmed at an Egyptian slaughterhouse last month, spent his last horrific many minutes of life having his eyes stabbed and his leg tendons slashed. He had been forced into an appallingly cruel slaughter box, from which, in panic, he escaped, trying to run on three legs because one was already broken. His throat had been slashed and he ran with his head almost hanging off. Jacob was a gentle, Western Australian Brahman bull, who had done nothing wrong. He spent weeks on a Third World live export ship on his way to Egypt before facing this ultimate horror annd depravity.

The evidence of the abuse first came from a courageous Egyptian veterinarian, Dr Abdelwahab, a man with seven years experience in Egyptian abattoirs. He expressed to Animals Australia that animal cruelty in Egypt is rife and that neither abattoir management nor on-site veterinarians intervene to stop cruel treatment. He said ‘this action happened yesterday, today, and it will happen tomorrow’. He described the facilities, claimed to be ‘state of the art’ by the Australian government and exporters, detailing the slaughterbox used there which turns the terrified animals upside down, often crushing their ribs and pelvises in the process.
How is it possible that Australian politicians from all the major parties, having seen the horror that we have seen, remain unmoved by what has so distressed 84% of decent, hardworking Australians? We have seen similar evidence from Egypt in 2003 and 2006, 2010 and in 2012, the Egyptians objected to Australian cattle arriving in that country with hormone growth promtants in their ears. The solution? The Egyptians wanted to chop the ears off the cattle BEFORE they killed them. 3,000 cattle remain in Egyptian feedlots awaiting slaughter, are they all to go the same way as Jacob? It would seem so, with nothing to protect them. And still Australian exporters want to send animals there.

Let us never forget ‘Tommy’, the innocent steer filmed in Indonesia in 2011, trembling with terror as he watched other cattle being butchered alive, and the eye-stabbing and tendon slashing that is apparently the preferred method for ‘bringing down’ Australian cattle in so many of these countries. That brought about the Ludwig ‘Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme’, which did nothing to protect a single animal from abuse. Since then we have seen horrific treatment of our animals in Turkey, Israel, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mauritius, Malaysia and Kuwait.The fact is that other countries just haven’t yet been caught.  And it has almost entirely been identified and reported by Animals Australia, a not-for-profit charity.

And how can we ever forget the dreadful fate of the 22,000 Australian sheep who, it was claimed, were rejected by Bahrain with the excuse of ‘scabby mouth disease’? These sheep were subjected to a further journey to Pakistan, for which the Exporter, Wellards, managed to secure ESCAS approval almost overnight. As the facts appear in this, Bahran did not in fact reject the sheep. The Ministry directed that between 2 and 7 sheep were to be destroyed on the ship, the M/V Ocean Drover, then the rest could have been unloaded. So why were they sent to Pakistan at all? Even more extraordinary is the fact that an ‘Austraian Authorised Officer’ in Perth apparently signed a health certificate for these sheep approximately 29 days after they had left Australia. We certainly haven ‘t forgotten what happened to those sheep in Pakistan – they were stabbed and clubbed and buried alive, only to be dug up alive from trenches to be stabbed again until they were finally, and mercifully, dead. Prime Miister Julia Gillard requested an explanation from the Pakistani government, but so far as we know none has been forthcoming. Ms Gillard continues to maintain that the live export industry is to be actively promoted. 
Animals Austraia filed a complaint to DAFF of Australian sheep being openly sold at an ESCAS banned, notoriously cruel, market in Kuwait, the Al Rai market, last August. When no action was taken, it filed more complaints about the same matter. DAFF has just concluded that investigation, finding against three exporters, Emanuel Exports, International Livestock Exports and EMS Rural Exports. They have been directed to employ ‘Supply Chain Assurance Officers’ in Kuwait. That is all. Emanuel Exports and its sister company ILE,  which share the same directors, are multiple repeat offenders. The name Graham Daws appears almost monotonously in investigations.

Immediately after the revelations from Egypt, from two separate sources and investigations, Animals Australia uncovered multiple breacxhes of Ludwig’s ‘rules’ in Malaysia, involving cattle and goats. The reality for Australian goats is that they are mostly wild, terrified, and rounded up for export, the majoroty to Malaysia. Animals Australia provided evidence to the regulator of goats being hog-tied, put in bags, and thrown into car boots for lengthy journeys in hot and cramped conditions to be slaughtered pretty much by anyone who wanted to. The film footage is pitiful.

In October last year, a shipment of cattle left Geraldton for Mauritius. It against the law to slaughter pregant animals in Mauritius, and the voyage on the M/V Barkly Pearl was reported as being a rough one with heavy seas. An Australian veterinarian, one Dr David Morrell of the Broome Animal Hospital, certified that none of the cattle was pregant and/or that they had been spayed ‘according to the regulations’. Dr Morrell claims in his ’bio’ to be a cattle specialist, with particular expertise in pregnancy testing. Two of the cattle gave birth to calves in the ship and a substantial number was found to be pregant upon arrival. 65 were subsequently found dead at a feedlot there, allegedly poisoned.  The captain of the M/V Barkly Pearl filed false declarations with the Mauritian authorites stating that there were no mortalities on board the ship when there had been (at least) 18, but because he did not similarly lie to the Australian authorities, nothing can be done about that. Animals Australia sent a veterinarian to Mauritius, and he described the slaughter of the cattle as in violation of ESCAS, using traditional roping methods.

In not a single case has the regulator, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, taken any significant action against an exporter, no matter how serious the ‘breach’ or how horrific the abuse. On its website, DAFF records ’incidents’ as being minor, major or critical, and for a major breach an exporter can be ordered to employ a ‘Supply Chain Officer’ or an ‘Animal Welfare Officer. Nothing more than that, even for multiple repeat offences. It has yet to complete its ‘investigation’ into the Bahrain Pakistan matter from last August and September. The term ‘isolated incidents’ has been so over-used it seems to be giving way to the word ‘anomaly’.

Last Thursday, in the House of Representatives, Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie courageously stood up in Parliament with this picture of ‘Jacob’ and demanded some answers from Prime Minister Gillard, who could only reiterate that the government’s system is ‘working’. Andrew’s questioning of the government can be seen here, as well as the totally predictable and fatuous response of the Prime Minister claiming that this evil, disgraceful trade in wretched animal misery and suffering has a ‘social licence’.

But coalition ‘wannabes’ will be even worse.

So please demand that your current Federal MPs and Senators do whatever it takes to bring down this trade. But also take it up with coalition candidates as well, because their agenda is to EXPAND this morally bankrupt industry. Don’t be fooled by the argument that if Australia withdraws from the trade the animal abuse will be even worse, because if millions of Australian animals are nor put on the rotten old ships, that is millions of animals saved – and that many less animals subjected to this horriific and systemic  torture. No other countries can supply the volume of animals Australia does.

Don’t buy the argument that the ‘cattle in the north are starving;’ either. If these people have bred thousands of animals for this trade which is going nowhere if the Australian people are heard by their government, then they are obligated to feed and care for them. If they don’t, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as anyone else would be. Their failure to respond to market forces is their fault and no-one else’s, and there is no more subsidised and privileged sector in the community than the ever-complaining farmers.

Most importantly, make your vote count.

Suzanne Cass Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty
20.05.13 9:45 am
 Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty
 PO Box 252
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 06:03:48 PM by WA Export News »