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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News December 13, 2012, 11:05:36 AM

: Sadistic slaughter of AU animals in Israel slaughterhouse sparks ALP backlash.
: WA Export News December 13, 2012, 11:05:36 AM
Slaughter sparks ALP backlash.

 OUTRAGED Labor backbenchers are calling on the Gillard government to replace industry-appointed auditors with independent inspectors and CCTV cameras, saying the public cannot have confidence in current live export animal welfare protections.

The row over the $1 billion trade has been reignited again -- the fourth time in as many months -- after shocking footage revealed cattle being "sadistically" abused at an Israeli abattoir cleared to receive Australian stock.

 (   Cattle producer Dale Park at his West Australian property with some of his Murray Grey bulls due to be exported to Israel soon. Picture: Tony Ashby   Source: The Australian

   The footage, aired on Israeli television and on the ABC's 7:30, has sparked an investigation by the Department of Agriculture to determine whether the animals were Australian, and a police inquiry in Israel.

The images were allegedly captured at Bakar Tnuva abattoir in September by an undercover Israeli journalist, just months after it was audited and given the tick of approval on behalf of Australian company Elders as part of the government's new live export regime.

Israeli police officers yesterday interviewed four personnel from the abattoir and said they were taking the matter very seriously.

Victorian MP Kelvin Thomson, South Australian MPs Tony Zappia and Steve Georganas and West Australian MP Melissa Parke all said the government should replace industry-appointed auditors with independent government inspectors and CCTV cameras at abattoirs.

The call is backed by animal activists but the live export industry says there has been no other incidents where the "veracity of audits" have been challenged under the new system.

A closed-supply system was introduced last year in the wake of a month-long ban on Indonesia live cattle exports after footage of livestock being abused was screened.

Mr Zappia described the footage as showing the "sadistic treatment of animals that went far beyond animal cruelty" and an independent office of animal welfare -- currently being drawn up by the Labor caucus -- would be perfect to provide independent audits for exporters overseas.

"I have been very concerned that the auditors have been appointed by industry," Mr Zappia told The Australian.

Mr Georganas said an independent umpire was needed to audit abattoirs. "How can we have confidence when we are relying on the word of an auditor that was chosen and paid for by industry?" he said.

But Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said exporters must use an auditor who is independent and meet relevant international standards and guidelines for auditing.
He said CCTV was a matter for exporters.

Elders has announced it will cease live cattle exports to Israel until all staff and managers involved in the unacceptable treatment of animals have been sacked, CCTV cameras installed and all slaughter and welfare compliance standards reviewed.

A spokeswoman said the cattle in the footage were not supplied by Elders and the July audit was done by the largest firm in the country, Standardisation Institute of Israel.

WA Farmers Federation president Dale Park, one of the few specialist cattle producers in Australia supplying the Israeli live export market, said none of the cattle depicted in the cruel video were his, since he has not supplied any cattle to Israel since last March.

He is not convinced a ban on the live cattle trade to Israel is in the best interests of either global animal welfare or Australia.

Additional reporting: John Lyons (