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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News May 19, 2012, 12:32:38 PM

: Export licences should have been cancelled or suspended: Labor MP
: WA Export News May 19, 2012, 12:32:38 PM
EMILY BOURKE: The Federal Labor backbencher Kelvin Thomson, who's campaigned for mandatory stunning of cattle before they're slaughtered, says the companies should have had their licences suspended or cancelled.

Mr Thomson has spoken to chief political correspondent, Sabra Lane.

KELVIN THOMSON: In my view 37 breaches is way too many and the two exporters should have their licenses suspended or even cancelled. I note that the department's deputy secretary has said that if further animal welfare breaches occur, they would face the possible loss of their export license, but you have to wonder how many chances they get.

When the trade was resumed last year after being suspended, the Government said the industry was on notice, so I think the public would expect that any exporters still found to be treating animals inhumanely would be run out of the industry.

SABRA LANE: The penalties that have been applied here, what message does that send to the industry?

KELVIN THOMSON: Well I think the really worrying thing, even more so than the question of penalty is the fact that it wasn't industry self regulation that brought these breaches to light, it was Animals Australia, Lyn White and her little video camera.

So you have to wonder whether we're really only seeing the tip of the iceberg and I think the only way we're going to ensure that our animals are not being mistreated is to insist on mandatory stunning, that all animals are stunned before being killed, and I further think we should be supporting proposals for the establishment of abattoirs in northern Australia, such as the Australian Agricultural Company proposal for Livingstone Valley south of Darwin and transitioning away from live exports and into domestic processing, which is better both for animal welfare and for Australian jobs.

SABRA LANE: The Prime Minister was quizzed about this this morning. She said in fact that this proves the system is working well.

KELVIN THOMSON: It is welcome that we've seen abattoirs being suspended, but I am concerned that it was not industry self regulation that brought these breaches to light, it was the work of Animals Australia. And so from my point of view, the only way we can be absolutely confident that animals are not being mistreated is to insist on mandatory stunning.

And I further think that we should be transitioning away from live exports and into domestic processing.

SABRA LANE: Will you further press this case within Caucus and pressure the Government to change?

KELVIN THOMSON: Well the discussions within Caucus are a matter for Caucus and not for me or others to flag but it's an issue that a lot of Labor Party MPs are concerned about and undoubtedly there will be further discussion in appropriate forums about it.

SABRA LANE: And within the community, do you think that the community will be satisfied that the Government has dealt with this, that these regulations show that the new welfare guidelines are working?

KELVIN THOMSON: Well I and other MPs have had a lot of emails and phone contact and contact in our electorate offices from people who are concerned about animal welfare issues and I think that's likely to continue, I think that animal welfare is an issue of genuine concern to many Australians and I would expect that people would continue to raise it.

EMILY BOURKE: The Labor Member for Wills Kelvin Thomson, speaking there with Sabra Lane.

Sabra Lane reported this story on Friday, May 18, 2012

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3505790.htm
: Re: Export licences should have been cancelled or suspended: Labor MP
: Export News Tasmania May 19, 2012, 07:04:13 PM
Well, it's a start. Let's see them put their money where their mouths are and vote against Gillard. Political self-interest will always overcome moral considerations.