Latest shame: Australia to send animals to Libya

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 8 May 2007

The list of countries to which Australia exports live animals reads like a ‘who’s who’ of nations that have no regard for animal welfare. However, it seems the list was missing one — so now the Howard Government has added Libya to the list!

What do we know about Libya?

According to a US Department of State human rights report, Libya’s authoritarian regime: holds political prisoners for years without charge or trial; the judiciary is controlled by the state; and there is no right to a fair public trail. Libyans do not have the right to elect? their government. Freedom of speech and religion is restricted and ethnic and tribal minorities are discriminated against. Libya has been given the lowest rating possible on political rights and civil liberties.

And … as you would suspect, with human rights still not recognised in Libya no laws exist to protect animals from acts of cruelty.

Once again this key factor — which should instantly render Libya as an unacceptable destination for Australian animals — has been disregarded by the Howard Government.

Minister McGauran, in his press release announcing the opening of the trade with Libya, proudly proclaimed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) had been signed that will protect the welfare of Australian exported animals. However, this agreement simply guarantees that animals will be unloaded upon their arrival in Libya. There is no agreement whatsoever regarding the treatment of Australian animals once they have been unloaded in the country.

However, even if the MOU did make some attempt to ensure the welfare of Australian animals after unloading, Animals Australia’s recent Egypt investigation documented numerous breaches of the Australian/Egyptian MOU and showed that MOUs are worthless: they have no legal standing. The Howard Government showed how little importance it places on such agreements by ignoring Egypt’s disregard of its MOU, continuing instead to export animals to that country.

Now we can add Libya to the list of nations in the region where the people will be led to believe that Australians approve of their treatment of animals. After all, we wouldn’t supply them with animals if we didn’t, would we?

Is there no country that the Howard Government won’t ‘approve’ as a destination for Australian animals? Does this industry’s greed know no bounds? Every Australian who cares about Australian animals, and the plight of animals in North Africa and the Middle East, should be appalled by the Australian government’s decision to send Australian animals to Libya.

Help us end this trade in misery.

What you can do:

Tell your MP live animal exports must end.