Author Topic: Shocking ships of death leave stain on our national conscience  (Read 648 times)

WA Export News

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Shocking ships of death leave stain on our national conscience
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2013, 11:41:53 AM »
A LIFELINE has been thrown to the voiceless, but it remains to be seen if they will be rescued. 

The live animal trade is a practice with a stench that lingers.

But this week, at last, we have heard from politicians who reflect the views of those of us who have had enough of being shocked and disgusted about what has been allowed to continue.
     Live sheep waiting to be loaded onto export ship Mukairisk Al Sades height=366Source: The Courier-Mail   

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie introduced a private member's Bill to federal Parliament to phase out live export by 2017. Debate on it has been adjourned to a later date.

With only four sitting weeks left, there are fears the Bill may not be able to outrun the election. But at least the Tasmanian pollie is trying to stop the barbaric, abhorrent export of our livestock - more than politicians from the major parties have done, despite repeated en masse requests.

It has become plain no decision by an Australian authority can guarantee our livestock will be slain humanely. We must ban live trade and, if we must, slaughter our livestock here.

Live export has a rich and bloodied history. We have sent animals overseas for slaughter since not long after the nation was colonised: sheep to Turkey, cattle to Indonesia, horses to India.

But just because we have always done it, doesn't mean we should keep doing so.

Reassessing and updating practices is what advanced civilisations do.

That the transport itself is unkind is accepted. Thousands of creatures die en route in appalling circumstances: it is expected and factored in. That these unpleasant deaths en route are part of the business model is

But it gets worse for many of those that survive the trip. We know that now because we have been shown it repeatedly.

West Australian cattle exporters suspended their live trade this month after Animals Australia was given Egyptian abattoir footage. The horrors included a Brahman bull being stabbed repeatedly in the face because it would not walk on a broken leg.

It was sickening vision.

There have been recent abuses exposed in the slaughter of our livestock in Turkey and Kuwait, too, which can only mean the government's Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System is clearly flawed.

And as shocking as the footage repeatedly is, it is also appalling that our decision makers wait for activists to expose such horrors - horrors they should know about if their system worked.

They wait for the resultant hue and cry from the public, and then pretend to care and to be listening.

Even most of those who don't love animals find such images disturbing. It goes against our instincts: a teasing, torturous death will never sit well.

Two years ago, the nation was shocked when ABC's Four Corners showed Australian cattle being processed in Indonesian abattoirs. Politicians were moved to tears, talkback radio went nuts and the country's beef consumption plummeted.

The sight of our cattle visibly shaking with fear as those nearby twitched in the aftermath of a bloody death was too much. Even the memory of that footage makes me sick to my stomach and I know I am not alone.

Trade was suspended for a month and the Australian authorities demanded humane practices be implemented.

Live cattle traders claim they have not recovered from the suspension and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced this month he intended to apologise for the Indonesian ban if he becomes prime minister. He would
never have stopped the trade, he said.

Wilkie pointed out this week that live exports are worth a mere 5 per cent of the sheep and cattle meat industry, a far cry from the claims of bans being catastrophic. So Wilkie and Greens MP Adam Bandt are having another crack at stopping the vile practice.

At last, we have politicians who say of the agony and the torture, enough is enough.