Dr Patricia Petersen, Lecturer and Researcher in Economics, Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Organiser of the first two National Days of Action to End Live Export that were held last year, claims that on economic and moral grounds, the issue of the live export industry needs to be once and for all addressed.
The live export industry is costing Australia 2 Billion in GDP and tens of thousands of jobs.
Dr Petersen said that she is still being contacted on a daily basis by Ipswich meat workers who are furious about the government's refusal to ban the live export trade.
"We have one of the largest meat processing plants in the Southern Hemisphere here in Ipswich. Meat workers are rightly fed up with being stood down on a regular basis because the plant, Swift, doesn't have enough cattle to slaughter," said Dr Petersen.
"In Ipswich, the live export trade is causing overwhelming levels of stress, families to break apart and homelessness. It's totally unnecessary" she said.
"On economic grounds alone, the issue of live export should be dealt with once and for all."
"It would be fiscally reckless for the government not to look more critically at the viability of the live export trade. Australia is losing 2 Billion in GDP and tens of thousands of jobs because of the industry," she said.
"Why support a less than 5 million dollar live export industry when we are losing 2 Billion in GDP?", said Dr Petersen.
Dr Petersen, however, admitted that the live export trade was a complex issue and that the economics of the live export trade in the Northern Territory
was quite different from southern parts of Australia.
"A major problem is that what's economically viable and desirable in the south, isn't in the north. The population of the Northern Territory is small - they only have 250,000 people living in the territory and many of these people rely on the live export trade. The cattle aren't really suitable for being slaughtered in Australia. If there is to be a blanket ban on live export in this country, our government is going to have to address this issue - it's a serious issue," she said.
Dr Petersen is also calling for the banning of orthodox Jewish and Muslim meat being prepared in Australia.
"The Dutch parliament has legislation in place which legally prevents animals being killed without first being stunned. We need to do the same here. It's hypocritical of us to tell other nations to use stun guns when 11 of our abattoirs don't systematically use them" she said.
"In fact there is a great deal of hypocrisy in place in relation to this issue. We should be cleaning up our own moral backyards before criticising other nations," she said.
Dr Petersen will be attending the rally to end live exports at 12noon today (Saturday) in Brisbane - George St, outside Parliament House.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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