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Live Export News Updates / New live ex cruelty allegations rattle industry
« Last post by WA Export News on July 10, 2014, 11:47:25 PM »
BREAKING: AUSTRALIAN live exporters are “extremely concerned” about the serious nature of fresh allegations of cruelty towards Australian cattle in Gaza, from leaking supply chains in Israel.

Animals Australia says it has made 10 complaints to federal regulators about breaches of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) involving the two countries since last November.  Print      

           Flagrant breaches of the law governing the trade will not be tolerated

Israel is a significant Australian live cattle destination, with almost 100,000 head exported in 2013, valued at $72.8 million, according to MLA statistics.

But exports to Gaza stopped last year when Livestock Shipping Services voluntarily halted trade as a result of animal cruelty allegations.

Animals Australia spokesperson Lisa Chalk said the 10 complaints relating to ESCAS breaches in Gaza had been lodged with the Department of Agriculture and the two most recent two
complaints involved the transfer of more than 1000 cattle from Israel to Gaza, in contravention of a government order.

She said Animals Australia first reported evidence of “horrific abuse” of Australian cattle both in the approved and non-approved abattoirs in Gaza last November.

But since that time, seven further complaints have been made, supported by graphic vision of “shocking slaughter practices, including the stabbing of eyes and slashing of leg tendons.

Ms Chalk said Animals Australia had also presented evidence of Australian cattle being held in Gaza in numerous premises outside of ESCAS-approved supply chains.

“Over the past fortnight, Animals Australia has lodged two further complaints based on information from Israeli and Palestinian sources that over 1000 Australian cattle have been transferred from Israel into Gaza in breach of the Departmental order and ESCAS regulations,” she said.

"It is now eight months since shocking slaughter practices were first reported in Gaza and yet this situation has remained unaddressed.

“Sadly, our fears that ESCAS breaches would continue unless strong regulatory action with commercial implications was taken, have been well-founded.”

Ms Chalk said exporters have been prepared to supply cattle to these circumstances for years, despite the fact local Palestinian people have no capacity to handle large Australian cattle.

She said the blame should not fall on ill-equipped, frightened workers trying to restrain and slaughter animals, but on the wealthy companies supplying animals to them that have no interest in human or animal welfare.

"The fact that there is evidence of ESCAS being blatantly disregarded in Israel and Gaza can mean only one thing - that regulatory action taken thus far against those involved has been ineffective,” she said.

"Cattle producers supplying the Israel trade need to be demanding answers of exporters.

“They had every right to expect that ESCAS would be complied with - now their cattle are once again at grave risk of being horrendously slaughtered."

Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council chief executive Alison Penfold said the industry was “extremely concerned” but also dealing with the new complaints.

“ALEC is extremely concerned by the content and repetitious nature of the issues at the heart of the complaints which involves Australian cattle moving outside of approved supply chains in Israel to face brutal handling and slaughter in facilities in Gaza,” she said.

“Gross mishandling and slaughter as identified in the complaints has no place in the Australian livestock export trade let alone in any process assuring humane treatment of livestock.

“ALEC is undertaking its own inquiries and will work with the Department on any investigation.

“Flagrant breaches of the law governing the trade will not be tolerated.”

In a statement to Fairfax Agricultural Media, the Department said it had received a number of complaints from Animals Australia regarding Australian cattle in Israel and “possible movement of cattle into Gaza”.

“The Department is committed to thorough investigations - no shortcuts are taken,” the statement said.

“The timely delivery of these reports is a priority for the Department and Minister - this is balanced against the need to ensure a fair and accurate outcome is reached.”

The Department said the investigation reports would be published on its website once complete but there was currently no time frame for their completion and publication.

The Department currently has two investigations under way following a complaint from Animals Australia and a media report, of non-compliance with ESCAS requirements for cattle exported to
Israel and the Gaza Strip, from February and November last year.

Another allegation of non-compliance with ESCAS, and the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock, for unloading a vessel in Israel, is also under assessment.

At Senate estimates hearings in late May, Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon showed photographs to Department officials that she claimed were taken from Gaza.

“I want to show you this very disturbing photograph,” she said.

“It is a cow with a steel rod being stuck into its eye. This one is one with blood all over the ground, also in Gaza.

“The cattle have been shipped in from Israel and then with a small knife the man is going for the throat.”

Western Australian Liberal Senator Chris Back said it was well known there was a black market for ear tags that identify cattle as Australian.

“I ask the question in relation to the apparent cruelty case of an animal in Gaza identified by its Australian ear tag where in fact we understand that the animal had been slaughtered some
months earlier in Jordan in an approved ESCAS facility,” he said.

“As a person well experienced over many years in the live export trade, I reject the assertions that Senator Rhiannon has made - and I want that on record.”

Department of Agriculture deputy secretary Phillip Glyde said as “model regulators” the Department had to verify any information underpinning complaints made against accused exporters.

 COLIN BETTLES  10 Jul, 2014 04:00 PM
Catriona MacLennan: Animals need dedicated watchdog  4:00 PM Thursday Jul 10, 2014 

    Latest footage of factory farming suggests current system for enforcing welfare laws isn’t working

    TVNZ footage reveals conditions factory farmed pigs live in. height=310 TVNZ footage reveals conditions factory farmed pigs live in.   A parliamentary inquiry into pig farming in New Zealand should be launched immediately.

Five years ago, New Zealanders were shocked when TVNZ's Sunday programme broadcast horrifying images of pigs confined to sow stalls in appalling conditions.

Over the past two weekends, the Sunday programme has aired new footage of pigs living in dreadful conditions in farrowing crates. The pictures show rats swarming through crates, dead pigs left lying among the living, and animals covered in faeces. The film also shows one pig being hit with a hammer, while others are kicked, stomped and crushed.

Public revulsion at the 2009 programme convinced the Government to ban sow stalls from December 3, 2015. However, farrowing crates are still legal and pigs may also be kept in fattening pens.

Dry sow stalls are small metal-barred crates which are so narrow that pregnant sows cannot turn around, let alone exercise.

They are just 60cm wide and 2 metres long, meaning the animals can only stand up or lie down.

Pigs kept in sow stalls risk lameness and chronic joint disorders, as well as digestive, heart, lung and urinary diseases.

When they are due to give birth, the sows are moved to farrowing crates, where they give birth on bare concrete floors and are unable to construct nests for their piglets.

The sow's babies are taken away when they are only four weeks old and the grieving animals are impregnated again and returned to sow stalls. The piglets will be placed in fattening pens where they spend their short, miserable lives confined on concrete or wooden-slatted floors.

The cruelty brought to light by the Sunday programme flourishes unchecked because the public and consumers do not know about it. Both in New Zealand and overseas, it is often only when animal welfare advocates film cruel conditions that the public becomes aware of them. This is because government agencies charged with enforcing animal welfare fail to do their jobs properly.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is responsible for policing and enforcing animal welfare on farms. However, this role conflicts directly with the ministry's primary purpose of maximising exports of primary sector products.

When animal welfare is lined up against economics, financial considerations always prevail. That is plainly illustrated by the fact that less than 1 per cent of the ministry's budget is devoted to animal welfare - despite the fact New Zealand earns more than $21 billion in exports from animals each year.

There are around 150 million farm animals in this country, but the ministry has fewer than 50 inspectors to police them all. The overwhelming majority of abuse on farms therefore goes undetected. When complaints about animal welfare are made to the ministry, only 1 per cent lead to prosecutions.

New Zealand should remove responsibility for the investigation and enforcement of animal welfare from the Ministry for Primary Industries and transfer it to a new, independent commissioner for animal welfare. The commissioner's sole focus would be animal welfare, and an adequate budget would be required to permit both monitoring and enforcement of welfare.

The commissioner should carry out random farm checks to ensure abuse and neglect are detected. In Canada, animal welfare advocates are suggesting live video feeds from farms, so farmers and workers know their actions will be open to public scrutiny.

New Zealand should also act immediately to put an end to its factory farming shame, by abolishing all factory farming by 2017 at the latest.

In the European Union, sow stalls have been banned since January 1, 2013. In Australia, Tasmania has seized the initiative and banned the use of sow stalls four years ahead of the rest of the Australian pig industry.

In the United States, individual states are acting to outlaw battery hen cages, sow stalls and veal calf crates. And Canada recently banned the lifelong confinement of pigs in gestation crates.

What New Zealand is proposing at present under the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill is that factory farming practices could continue for up to another 15 years.

Pigs are as intelligent as dogs and smarter than 3-year-old human children. Imagine the uproar if we treated dogs or children in the way we allow pigs to be mistreated.

The worst criminals in our society are confined to jail for lengthy periods. Eventually, however, they are released back into the community. For animals on factory farms, however, there is never any freedom. Let's put a speedy end to their suffering.

 - NZ Herald

Animal protection group says live export report flawed 

ABC Rural  Lucy Barbour
    The live animal export ship, Bader III height=227 Photo: The live animal export ship, Bader III, sits in Fremantle Harbour, May, 2008. (Giulio Saggin, file photo: ABC News)
A global animal welfare organisation says a report published by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) highlighting the value of livestock exports, is flawed.

The report suggests that reducing or banning the live trade wouldn't necessarily lead to increased demand for chilled and frozen meat, due to competition from countries like Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

Tom Shennan, from World Animal Protection, says a lack of refrigeration and cold chain facilities in Middle East markets doesn't stand up as a critical driver of the live export trade.

"We know from research done in 2011 that in countries in the Gulf Co-operation states, there is near universal household ownership of refrigerators," he said.

"And in countries like Indonesia, which is becoming increasingly urbanised, households in cities have up to a 68 per cent household refrigeration rate."

Welfare group targets abuse in Australian shearing sheds 

ABC Rural  By Lucy Barbour and Edwina Farley 

    PETA video shows alleged abuse of sheep in Australian shearing sheds. height=227 Photo: An image from a PETA video showing alleged abuse of sheep in Australian shearing sheds. (PETA website)   

Animal rights group PETA has renewed its attack on the Australian wool industry, this time releasing a video showing abuse of sheep in shearing sheds.

The footage, obtained by hidden cameras and released on YouTube, shows shearers punching, kicking and throwing sheep, as well as using electric shears and a hammer to hit the animals.

It was obtained through an investigation by PETA United States, as part of a campaign to stop people buying and wearing wool.     
PETA says it's sending the footage to international retailers that sell wool, including Ralph Lauren Corporation and J.Crew, to encourage them to end their sales of wool products.         

 Audio: PETA launches campaign targeting sheep shearers (ABC Rural) The group claims the footage was taken at 19 shearing sheds in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

The farmers have the responsibility for ensuring that the animals in their care are treated appropriately.  Claire Fryer, PETA, Australian campaign co-ordinator

It also claims nine shearing contract firms, employing 70 workers, were involved - representing a total of more than five per cent of contractors listed nationally.

The group's Australian campaign co-ordinator, Claire Fryer, says some of the people filmed were aware that cameras were in place.

"The footage shows the workers violently punching sheep in the face, stomping and standing on the animal's necks, and also beating them in the face with electric clippers and even a hammer," Ms Fryer said.

"It's also important to mention that there were station managers, farm hands and workers affiliated with producers in some sheds, and no-one was remanded for any of the abuse."

The RSCPA says it received PETA's complaint last night. That's despite PETA obtaining the footage between August 2013 and March this year.

Claire Fryer says the group withheld the footage until now because it was waiting for the investigation to be 'finalised'.

 It goes against everything we know and everything we see in the Australian wool industry.  Martin Oppenheimer, NSW director, Australian Wool Growers Association.

"Obviously the farmers have the responsibility for ensuring that the animals in their care are treated appropriately," she said.

"PETA US has been compiling a strong case for authorities and it knows from experience that it needs that to help in this cruelty, otherwise authorities' hands are tied and this animal suffering will continue unabated."

The RSPCA say the allegations are serious and will be investigated by its inspectors as information comes to hand for potential breaches of the relevant state animal welfare legislation.

The founder of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, also says the group has asked police to investigate the footage and proceed with criminal charges.

"PETA is calling on shoppers around the world to reject cruelty to animals, and that means never buying wool," Ms Newkirk said. Past cruelty complaintsThe footage follows a story broken by ABC Rural in which a sheep producer complained about cruelty by shearing contractors.

As a result of that complaint the Australian Workers Union, which oversees the shearing contract industry, encouraged the wool industry and farmers to stamp out animal welfare abuse.

Farmers have also complained about the culture among shearing contractors, with some saying they feel powerless to do anything about the abuse apart from sending contractors home.

Just last week, on his last day as CEO of the National Farmers Federation, outgoing chief Matt Linnegar highlighted likely welfare campaigns that would centre on the actions of farmers and workers on-farm.

Mr Linnegar said the agriculture industry has a long way to go in order to build trust between farmers and consumers.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the research, development and marketing organisation for the Australian wool industry, said in a statement that 'AWI categorically and unequivocally condemns the mistreatment of animals.'

It maintains it's invested $2.8million in the training of over 4000 shearers and shedhands in world’s best practise animal welfare in the last year alone, and more than $7million in the last five years.

Australian Wool Growers Association NSW director, Martin Oppenheimer, says the behaviour demonstrated in the videos is disturbing.

"It's very disappointing and it doesn't actually reflect what happens in the Australian wool industry today," Mr Oppenheimer said.

"Animal welfare is our highest priority and standards have improved over the last 20-30 years.

"It goes against everything we know and everything we see in the Australian wool industry."

But he says animal abuse inevitably exists in some shearing sheds.

"There'll always be isolated cases no matter what industry you're talking about and certainly, in most workplaces, drugs and alcohol can be issued, but who knows the circumstances that [PETA] are claiming
Other (non-export) News / Exposing Australian slaughterhouse cruelty
« Last post by WA Export News on July 07, 2014, 09:24:36 PM »
Exposing Australian slaughterhouse cruelty

** BREAKING: South Australia's largest pig slaughterhouse exposed on new 'Aussie Abattoirs' website **

Two months ago we released world-first footage from inside the gas chambers used to 'stun' the vast majority of pigs killed for food in Australia, filmed at the Corowa Abattoir in NSW. The footage was incredibly disturbing, but the pigs' reactions could only just be seen in the bottom corner of the screen.

The footage from Big River Pork, near Murray Bridge SA, is much clearer; and truly damning of what is considered the most "humane" method of slaughtering pigs. The footage also shows the final moments of sows, who after 3-5 years of being confined and repeatedly reimpregnated, are no longer useful to the industry and are sent to the gas chamber to be killed. The pigs are forced into the chamber by use of an electric cattle prod.

Link to the website:

Other (non-export) News / Toll from second sheep massacre expected to rise
« Last post by WA Export News on July 01, 2014, 07:47:00 PM »
 Toll from second sheep massacre expected to rise 

By ONE News Reporter Max Bania
Published: 2:41PM Tuesday July 01, 2014 Source: ONE News
The death toll from a second sheep massacre in North Otago within a week is likely to rise to 23.

Police initially found 15 dead sheep on the property near Ngapara, while a handful more were wounded and will have to be euthanised. It follows the massacre of 195 sheep on a nearby farm last week.

Detective Warren Duncan of Oamaru police says the case is unlike any he has encountered in his 28-year career.

"There are initial indications the shootings are linked", he says, adding that they occurred just 1.5km apart.

Detective Duncan says it is understandable that many in the community are frightened.

However, he is urging the public to remain calm and vigilant, and not to take the law into their own hands.

"The last thing we need is farmers driving round with shotguns," he says.

The owner of the farm, John Dodd, was devastated by the loss of stock - including valuable stud rams - which will likely run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

"This is 60 years of breeding lost," he says. "These are completely harmless animals."

Police believe a firearm had been used to carry out both sets of killings, but are appealing for more information from the public.

A scene examination at the second farm is expected to be completed today.
Other (non-export) News / NZ pork industry 'cannot be trusted'
« Last post by WA Export News on July 01, 2014, 09:38:08 AM »
NZ pork industry 'cannot be trusted'     

GEORGINA STYLIANOU   Last updated 09:57 30/06/2014

   Dead pigs at Chch farm  TVNZ Sunday   DISGUSTING CONDITIONS: A dead pig left to rot among living pigs at the damp, squalid Christchurch farm.

An animal rights group believes shocking footage showing squalid and cruel conditions at a Christchurch pig farm is ''just the tip of the iceberg''.

 The footage, filmed earlier this year, showed severe overcrowding, with a sow in a farrowing crate so small that her newborn piglets were squashed to death. Other piglets lay dying next to their helpless mother while other animals had infected eyes and obvious sores.

 It also showed a dead pig that had been left to rot among living pigs and dozens of rats running over the animals. 

 The pork industry is now under fire after the TVNZ investigation.

 Animal right group SAFE says the Government has failed these animals and is calling for a ban on farrowing crates. 

 SAFE's head of campaigns, Mandy Carter, said activists from Farmwatch visited the farm last year and filmed the animals in squalid, cruel conditions. The footage was referred to SAFE, who laid a complaint with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

 Carter said significant non-compliance with the pig welfare code was found by MPI inspectors, and a number of pigs were in such bad shape they had to be killed immediately. A few months later MPI declared that improvements had been made and the farm now complied with the code.

 MPI promised to undertake regular monitoring to ensure the ongoing welfare of the animals, Carter said.

 ''In April this year, the activists decided to visit the farm again and what they found was even worse.''

 The condition of the animals was ''disgusting'', she said, and many sows and piglets were suffering.

 After a 2009 campaign, led by SAFE and featuring comedian and ex-pork industry spokesperson Mike King, the Government undertook action to phase out sow crates by 2016.

 ''This Christchurch pig farm is really very bad, but the pig industry as a whole is not good,'' Carter said.

 In the last couple of years SAFE had received footage from about 12 farms across the country, revealing similar levels of cruelty.

 Carter said the footage of the Christchurch farm was ''unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg'', and consumers needed to know they could not trust New Zealand's pork industry.

 She said the industry-led rating scheme called Pig Care had downgraded the farm's rating from green to amber after complaints, but it had since been changed back to green. 

 ''So what do you have to do to get a red rating?''

 Animal welfare laws were weak and failing to improve standards of factory farming, Carter said. 

 The Green Party is calling for an independent commissioner for animal welfare after discovering the "horrendous conditions" on the farm.

 Animal welfare spokeswoman Mojo Mathers said pigs were still living in "disgusting and squalid" conditions on the farm, despite MPI saying it was compliant last year.

 The ministry was failing at its job because it was putting economic interests ahead of animal welfare.

 "We don't believe MPI is the right body to be monitoring animal welfare on intensive factory farms because they have a conflict of interest between promoting intensive farming and ensuring
decent animal welfare," Mathers said.

"There is a strong need to safeguard the welfare of animals. This is not only essential if we are to maintain New Zealand's international reputation but is necessary to protect the viability of farmers who do put animal welfare first."

 Farmwatch spokesman John Darroch said MPI had failed to protect these animals and had given the farm a clean bill of health after last year's investigation.

 ''We are disappointed that a year later the pigs are living in the same horrendous conditions,'' Darroch said.

 "It is ridiculous for [MPI Minister] Nathan Guy to suggest that we should trust the ministry to manage this farm when they have clearly failed to take any real action until now.''

 He said the reason the issue had not been addressed was because ''this is no rogue farm''.

 ''These are types of conditions which our organisation has found right around the country.''

- The Press
Janine Helen Giblin fined $5000, banned from having contact with animals in Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court   
  •   AAP 
  • June 30, 2014 4:39PM
A WEST Australian woman who failed to take her 14-year-old dog to the vet for a decade has been fined $5000 and banned from having contact with any animal for 10 years.

Boulder woman Janine Helen Giblin, 41, was also ordered in the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court today to pay more than $1000 in costs.

Giblin was convicted after the RSPCA received a complaint in October about a skinny Collie cross dog called Milly, which was laying down in her yard with froth coming from its mouth.

The caller said Milly was lying on the ground in the sun without shade or water, and was trying to drag itself to a bucket of water one metre away.

The caller said the dog was also emanating little barks that sounded like cries.

There was food scattered around the yard but it was covered in flies.

Members of the public took photographs and video footage of Milly, then took her to their own property while they awaited assistance.

They noticed the dog had a stench coming from her and was unresponsive to noise or movement.

They tried to give her water through a syringe but she did not respond.

A City of Kalgoorlie/Boulder Ranger took the dog to a local vet hospital where Milly was found to be suffering from multiple conditions including maggots in her anus, deeply sunken eyes, pale gums, a weak pulse and rapid respiration.

During examination, Milly lifted her head but collapsed.

The veterinarian made the decision to euthanase her on humane grounds, saying she was in severe pain and had been neglected over a long period of time.

“There is no excuse for letting a dog just rot away like this,” RSPCA chief inspector Amanda Swift said.

 Originally published as WA woman let pet dog ‘rot away’

ACT rejects push to curtail animal activists on farms   

ABC Rural  Lucy Barbour
 Updated 10 hours 37 minutes ago
    Shane Rattenbury height=227 Photo: ACT Greens MLA and ACT Primary Industries Minister, Shane Rattenbury, opposes any plans to introduce state or territory laws to curtail animal welfare activists on farms. (ABC News)     

The ACT Government has rejected the Federal Government's push for states and territories to introduce laws against trespassing and conducting unauthorised video surveillance on farms.

Earlier this year, the ACT Government banned factory farming, despite there being no factory farms in the Territory's jurisdiction.

The Federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has indicated there's national agreement on the need to introduce the laws, which aim to curtail the actions of animal welfare campaigners.

But ACT Minister for Primary Industries and Greens politician, Shane Rattenbury, disagrees.

"I don't support that position," he said.

"The Federal Government doesn't have powers in these areas, so states or territories have to do it individually.

"The ACT believes there are sufficient laws in place and we should, in fact, be focussing on improving animal welfare standards to ensure that the industry is well prepared for the change in customer expectation around animal husbandry."
Other (non-export) News / Shame on Cyprus- animal cruelty rife.
« Last post by WA Export News on June 27, 2014, 08:13:02 PM »
 Cruelty outrage 

27 June 2014 12:28


Police confirmed on Thursday that an investigation has been launched into reports of animal cruelty after a stray dog was allegedly thrown into a cardboard crushing machine by staff at a Paralimni hotel.

Speaking to The Cyprus Daily, Famagusta police spokesman George Economou said a probe into the incident was launched immediately after authorities received an official complaint.

"The investigation is still at the early stages and we are currently taking statements from witnesses and other individuals in the case. If the law has been broken, arrests will be made and those responsible will be brought before justice," he added.

The media was alerted over the shocking case of animal cruelty by a local animal welfare group that described the perpetrators as "savages" who give Cyprus a bad reputation.
According to Cyprus Animal Party, the owner of the hotel in question asked his employees to get rid of the stray dog in the area which he considered was annoying customers. 
Two staff members allegedly caught the canine and put it in a box crushing machine outside the hotel which they switched on before leaving the dog to die.

Tourists, who heard frantic barking, managed to save the badly injured dog and took it to a local veterinarian clinic where it is being treated. The dog, however, is in a bad way and may succumb to its injuries, the animal welfare group said.   

"The Cyprus Animal Party condemns this barbaric incident of animal cruelty and demands that those responsible are made to answer for their actions."

In another announcement yesterday, the Cyprus Green party strongly condemned the incident and reiterated local animal welfare activists' long-term plea appeal for the creation of Animal Police.
"We strongly condemn this abhorrent case of cruelty against a stray dog," said the greens while warning the incident will damage Cyprus' reputation as a family friendly tourist destination.

"Reports of animal cruelty in our country are circulating all over the world and destroying our once positive image."

The Greens also called on the authorities to create as a matter of urgency an Animal Police or at the very least an official body to coordinate animal welfare issues.

"This new incident clearly shows the necessity of creating an animal police force. Despite assurances from the Minister of Justice and Chief of police there have been no efforts to make it materialise."

Cyprus has garnered a poor reputation for animal welfare issues with a spate of particularly cruel cases making the headlines over recent months.
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