Two Australian live export companies have been found guilty of breaching new live export rules in Indonesia in what the Australian Government investigation has concluded represents "a systemic loss of control over animal welfare.'
International Livestock Exports and North Australian Cattle Company have been shown to be responsible for 37 breaches of new animal welfare standards after Animals Australia presented fresh evidence of cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs to the government in February.
Animals Australia Campaign Director, Lyn White, said despite Minister Ludwig's insistence today that the system is working, the findings of the report overwhelmingly revealed a system that cannot and will not protect the welfare of Australian animals.
"One of the slaughterhouses in question had only passed an audit a few months prior to the cruelty being documented. This is despite that abattoir's ‘standard operating procedures' not even meeting government requirements.
"These are not teething problems. They reveal a fatally flawed system that is reliant on irregular third party audits that are paid for by the exporter - this is not an auditing system that can be deemed independent and therefore relied upon."
The breaches included workers not checking that animals were dead before cutting them up; that animals were subjected to procedures that caused pain and suffering; that animals were unduly stressed prior to slaughter and adding to their stress were being washed and hosed straight after the throat cut.
"These are the most basic animal welfare standards and it is profoundly disturbing that these abattoirs, approved under the new system, were failing to meet them."
Animals Australia rejected claims that the installation of CCTV cameras and the presence of an industry-paid ‘animal welfare officer' in abattoirs would prevent cruel treatment.
"CCTV can only be an effective deterrent if workers know that their activities are being monitored by independent regulators. And why would anyone believe that a representative of the exporter at an abattoir will report breaches of standards to the Australian government that are contrary to the interests of his employer's business?"
Animals Australia applauded the thoroughness of the government's investigation but said what it confirmed was that this was still an industry that for all intents and purposes was self-regulating and that as a result dire risks to animals remained.
"The bottom line is that these breaches of the new system would not even have been identified and investigated were it not for Animals Australia investigators continuing to scrutinise this trade, so how can the government suggest that this new system is working.
"Despite assurances that the days of self-regulation were over - the government continues to have no day to day oversight of the operation of a trade that it supports and endorses – a trade that time and again has shown its preparedness to put profit before welfare.
"A regulatory system that depends on a charity to be its watchdog, and on exporters to monitor themselves, is not a system that either producers or the community can have any confidence in," concluded Ms White.
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