Live Export Shame

All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News June 03, 2013, 12:40:04 AM

: Offer for cameras to keep watch on livestock exports
: WA Export News June 03, 2013, 12:40:04 AM
The welfare of Australian animals being exported for overseas slaughter would be under constant watch under a plan to install surveillance cameras on export ships and foreign abattoirs.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have written to the Australian Livestock Exporters Council offering to pay for cameras on export boats and approved international slaughterhouses in a bid to stamp out cruelty.

The controversial trade has been plagued by frequent revelations of inhumane treatment of animals.

The group's director of campaigns, Jason Baker, wrote to the livestock council chief executive, Alison Penfold, with the offer to ''pay to install and monitor surveillance cameras on each ship that transports animals from

Australia to be slaughtered overseas as well as in all the slaughterhouses approved by the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System''.

Mr Baker said the group was glad to hear that the council was interested in improving animal welfare following recent cases of cruelty to cattle in Egypt.

Under the group's plan the footage would be available on the internet on a live stream.

''As you've said, [the livestock council] wants to ensure that animals are treated by the standards that the Australian community expects.

''This would be a great way to let the public see for themselves what you've done to improve the lives of the millions of animals who are live-exported from Australia each year,'' Mr Baker said.

He said video would also make it easier to identify and attend to animals who become sick or injured on the ships.

''I'm sure you will agree that if installing cameras could spare even one animal from starving or dying of infection en route to slaughter or being abused in the holding pens and slaughterhouses, surely accepting our
offer will be worthwhile.''

He said installing cameras was an opportunity for the live-export industry to show transparency.

''If there is nothing to hide, why not let the public see what life is like for animals on live-export ships?''

Ms Penfold said she would respond to the group shortly but the matter was not one for the council but for individual export supply chain participants.

She said the industry was always working to improve welfare and the focus was on providing training and support to  people  handling livestock in the export process.

''This is the best investment to changing practices and behaviours towards livestock and will deliver lasting improvements to animal welfare outcomes,'' Ms Penfold said.

She said  a number of exporters had already worked with their customers to place closed-circuit television in their facilities.

June 3, 2013   
Richard Willingham ( State Political Correspondent for The Age