Live Export Causes MP Backlash

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 7 July 2011

Less than twenty-four hours after the Gillard Government resumed live cattle exports to Indonesia, nine courageous Labor backbenchers have come forward to challenge the government’s willingness to accept the slaughter of fully conscious animals.

The ‘international standards’ that the Gillard Government will require as part of their ‘supply chain assurance’ continue to permit cattle to have their throats cut without stunning — a brutal and painful death that is illegal in Australia.

MP Kelvin Thomson spoke on behalf of the nine backbenchers: “There are some serious questions concerning this matter that we will aim to resolve within the Government … The first concerns the issue of stunning … Until we get to this point this issue will not go away, the Australian people expect cattle to be stunned before they are killed."

This bold break from party ranks again reflects the growing concern not only within the community but amongst politicians about the systemic cruelty in the live export trade. But unfortunately, when the bills to ban live export are put to a vote, party policies threaten to constrain caring politicians from honestly representing the concerns of the public.

In a separate press conference today, Animals Australia, RSPCA Australia and independent MP Andrew Wilkie called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to put the bills to end live export to a conscience vote. Such a move would allow politicians from all parties to accurately and honestly represent their constituents without threat of expulsion from their party. You too can call on Gillard to allow a conscience vote by clicking here.

The strength of public opposition to live export can empower politicians to speak out, as the nine Labor backbenchers have done. These politicians have been elected to represent the public, and when they recieve messages of support it not only strengthens their call for change, but encourages them to do more for animals. Please take a moment to write a short thank you email to these nine MPs for speaking up for the animals:

If your MP was not amongst those who spoke out to oppose the killing of fully conscious animals, please phone their office to ask them why, and urge them to support an end to the cruelty of live animal export. Click here to find contact details for your MP.