Live Export Shame

All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : Export News Tasmania April 05, 2012, 04:03:23 PM

: RSPCA National President fails in arguments with exporters
: Export News Tasmania April 05, 2012, 04:03:23 PM
THE RSPCA needs to change its live export policy.

That's the message from the farming industry following last week's Stud Merino Breeders Association of WA's (SMBAWA) annual general meeting attended by RSPCA national president Lynne Bradshaw.

Ms Bradshaw was continually questioned over the organisation's stance on live exports and her response to stud breeders throughout the State and to fellow panel members - WA Live Exporters Association chairman John Edwards, Hillside Meats owner Peter Trefort, Australian Wool Innovation representative Graham Curry and Liberal Senator Chris Back - was unconvincing.

Ms Bradshaw referred back to the RSPCA's policy saying it had not changed for 30 years.

But industry members, some of whom were RSPCA members, believe the policy needs to be reviewed.

Ms Bradshaw, a strong advocate for working together with industry to improve animal welfare, hit a road block when many farmers responded by saying it was difficult to work with an organisation and find middle-ground, when the RSPCA maintained its anti-live exports stance.

Ms Bradshaw defended the organisation's policy saying it hadn't changed for 30 years.

The latter comments have triggered responses from industry describing the policy as outdated and out of touch with reality.

But Ms Bradshaw reinforced her message the RSPCA wanted to work with industry.

"We represent mainstream, we are not your enemy," she said.

"We are not trying to put you out of business and we are not trying to close you down.

"That's true and I am happy to stand here and you can throw your tomatoes or whatever.

"We believe there has been incremental change but the problem with incremental change is that it has taken 30 years to get where we are now, so what we want to try and do is speed that up."

The audience didn't buy into Ms Bradshaw's comments, with farmers voicing their concerns of working with an animal welfare organisation, whose policy was against the future of the trade.

Meat processor and meat industry representative Peter Trefort said the policy was outdated.

"I am an RSPCA supporter and I don't mind saying that, but I think your policy is 30 years out of date," Mr Trefort told Ms Bradshaw.

"The policy you have got includes putting chilled meat into overseas markets and that is a hell of a joke because it just won't happen.

"What do they (Indonesian or Middle Eastern consumers) do with the meat when they haven't even got power?

"What do we do with the meat when it's frozen and the people over there are living in sea containers or fridge boxes?

"It's just not possible.

"What you (the RSPCA) need to do is be realistic in your policy so the policy reflects the reality because at the moment your policy doesn't reflect reality."

For a policy to be amended or changed it must first be given a unanimous vote from the State board and then it can be taken to other RSPCA State organisations for a national vote, which also needs to be unanimous.

The RSPCA WA board has 12 representatives including two farmers, Dunn Rock farmer Janette De Landgrafft and Tincurrin farmer Don Thomson.

WALEA chairman John Edwards and the audience also supported the calls from Mr Trefort and said industry was disappointed at the RSPCA's policy when clearly huge inroads had been made over many years.

"Ending the live export trade is counterproductive to animal welfare outcomes," Mr Edwards said.

"An outcome that you would expect the RSPCA would see as its highest priority.

"If RSPCA chooses to carry on with this campaign it will certainly lose the support of all the livestock industries here in Australia.

"If the RSPCA is serious about improving animal welfare for Australian livestock, we would have thought our trade would make a great launching pad for them to be constructively involved."

Mr Edwards said claims the live export trade could be replaced by the boxed meat trade was rhetoric.

Liberal Senator Chris Back said the forum provided an opportunity for Ms Bradshaw to hear in "absolutely unequivocally terms about the importance of the live export trade to the sheep industry".

"I have spoken to the RSPCA about this a number of times but when somebody like Peter Trefort, a processor, says that the live export industry has underpinned price in this State it is a very strong statement," Mr Back said.

"I think the RSPCA's policy makes it very difficult for them to work with industry.

"I think that it makes them refuse to accept that there have been advances over the last 30 years.

"Maybe 30 years ago it may have been an appropriate trade.

"If somebody wants to be credible they have got to be prepared to examine those changes, look at them and say do they still meet the criticisms they had 30 years ago? And until they do that I don't think it is credible.

05 Apr, 2012 02:00 AM
: Re: RSPCA National President fails in arguments with exporters
: Export News Tasmania April 07, 2012, 12:42:27 AM
Perhaps the RSPCA National President will give the exporters the 'paw of approval' soon - in return for a substantial donation and the usual royalty arrangement, of course.