Australia: Shocking live animals and Melbourne CupBy Rowena Dela Rosa Yoon Nov 07, 2012 5:22PM UTC
Shocking mails were dropped into the Green Journo’s mailbox. One subject warns: “You’re not going to like what you see.” But that is not the only mail with a word of caution, but a few more.
The week started with a frolicsome spring horse racing carnival– yet animal welfare advocates get the fair share of media spotlight.
No, the mails are not about horses decrying the practice of whipping. These mails, sent by animal welfare advocates, are denouncing live animal exports.
Links to videos and photo galleries show the disturbing images of sheep brutally killed and dumped into a pit.
The ABC program investigated what happened to the 75,000 sheep loaded into the Ocean Drover owned by Perth-based exporter, Wellard, in September. The ship embarked from Freemantle bound for Bahrain.
However, Bahrain authorities rejected the flock claiming the animals were infected with disease. Independent testing later disproved the claim.
Wellard then schemed a way to sell the rejected flock somewhere else—to Pakistan. Animal welfare advocates said the flock endured extreme heat for weeks while waiting for their fate. In Pakistan, they were culled, dragged, beaten, kicked before they were butchered and dumped into a pit. Some of them were still breathing when buried, Lynn White from Animals Australia claims.
The Department of Agriculture, Fishery, and Forestry said Wellard breached the guidelines embodied under the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), but also said this is an “isolated” case.
ESCAS is a new system that allows exporters to track exported animals from the point of export in Australia to the point of slaughter overseas.
DAFF Minister and Senator Joe Ludwig said the Government regulates the live export trade, but points out this is a commercial industry. He said it is the responsibility of Australian exporters to ensure supply chain assurances are followed.
More than 1.5 million animals have been exported to live export markets under Australia’s new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System that puts animal welfare at the heart of the trade.
Banning live exports
Animal welfare advocates, Greens, and other civic groups reacted with shock and call for a ban on live animal exports.
GetUp said New Zealand, for one, has already taken the lead and has phased out live exports so why cannot Australia follow.
Processing meat in Australia will create jobs and ensure that Australian standards apply to the treatment of animals.
DAFF, however, underscores the ban will cost the livelihood and industry of people in rural and regional Australia. Minister Ludwig said,
In 2010, it earned more than $1.012 billion – it underpins the employment of more than 10,000 people in rural and regional Australia.
The Minister insists that Australia leads the world in animal welfare practices saying, “we are the only country that has a system to support specific animal welfare outcomes for livestock exports.”
Labor backbencher Kelvin Thomson has called for the suspension of Wellard’s licence, while former Greens Senator Bob Brown urged politicians to back the Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill 2012 introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon despite a slim chance to get it passed.
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