Live export review omits key recommendation

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 21 October 2011

A taxpayer funded review aimed at ‘improving’ animal welfare standards has glossed over the most serious aspect of animal cruelty in the live export trade…

On June 13 2011, in response to the shocking cruelty exposed by Animals Australia’s investigation in Indonesia, Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig announced a Government-commissioned review into the live export trade. The stated purpose of the review was aimed at improving animal welfare, but to allow live exports to continue.

Some four months later, the findings of the review conducted by Bill Farmer have been publicly released.

While the purpose of the Farmer review ruled out any suggestion of a live export phase out, it did represent an important opportunity to help reduce the suffering of millions of animals through its recommendations. And while the review has recommended a string of changes to the operation of the live trade, it also has one glaring omission — the failure to endorse mandatory stunning.

All of the most distressing cruelty exposed by Animals Australia’s investigations is the result of un-stunned slaughter. Horrifying scenes — of animals writhing in pain, stumbling helplessly with half-severed necks, and watching in terror as other animals are butchered alive — will never be forgotten. It was scenes like these that sparked a public outcry which led to the suspension of the live export trade to Indonesia.

Fear of further trade suspensions has been the catalyst for the rapid adoption of stunning in Indonesia — from just 8% prior to Animals Australia’s exposé, to a projected 90% stunning of Australian animals at the end of 2011. This is despite Australia’s live export trade having operated in the region for more than two decades.

In Jordan, Animals Australia’s work with the Jordanian Royal family has to date led to the uptake of stunning in 80% of abattoirs nation-wide.

With clear precedents as to the achievability of stunning and wide acceptance by religious authorities, it is alarming that Australia fails to ensure even this most basic level of protection for animals born into its care. As a result, while live exports continue, millions of Australian animals will still endure the horrors of fully conscious slaughter in many different countries.

Write your own live export review

Tragically, the Farmer review is reinforcing the view of both the ALP and Coalition that the slaughter of fully conscious animals is an acceptable level of cruelty in order to continue the live export trade. If you disagree, please urgently send your own opinion to your MP, who will soon have an opportunity to vote on mandatory stunning for all Australian animals that are exported live.

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