The Federal government has shown strong support for the continuation of the live export trade in response to last year’s Senate inquiry into animal welfare conditions.
The Senate report made nine recommendations including not passing legislation that proposed to end the trade immediately or have it phased-out over a reasonable time-period.
Australian Livestock Exporters' Council chief executive Alison Penfold welcomed the government’s strong response this week to the Senate report saying she was pleased it indicated a clear commitment to the live export trade’s continuation.
“The government is committed to supporting the continuation of the livestock export trade while ensuring the welfare of Australian animals and will, therefore, not be supporting the passage of (a Bill to phase out the trade),” the response said.
Ms Penfold said with ESCAS now in place, any animal welfare breaches could be individually identified and addressed accordingly, rather than shutting down an entire market, as happened last year with cattle exports to Indonesia.
The government also disagreed with the recommendation to launch an independent and comprehensive study into how the industry can be restructured to support processing of all animals within Australia.
But the Greens slammed the government response saying it would not appease public concerns about the live export trade.
Greens Senator and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said after eight months of waiting for a response to the Senate inquiry, the government’s effort would do little to address the “tidal wave of public concern about the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals in the live export trade”.
She said the government also rejected the Australian Greens’ recommendations to make pre-slaughter stunning mandatory.
“The government is putting too much faith in industry to do the government’s job,” she said.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said local cattle producers had always done the right thing and should not have been out of pocket over the snap suspension.
But he said Australia still needed to look at building up its on-shore processing capacity, which would give the beef industry more diversity.
NSW Senator Bill Heffernan chaired the Senate inquiry and said the live export suspension caused “horrendous” damage for local industry.
But he said he was “pleased sanity has now returned to the live export debate”, with the government backing the trade’s continuation in its response.
The Government response said the use of stunning in livestock export supply chains would be encouraged through pursuing, where possible, bilateral agreements with trading partners that include stunning.
It would also promote the use of stunning through work instructions, improved processes and stunning training through regional OIE forums.
Back to News Headlines