Live export: terrifying for animals ... and people

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 14 April 2014

Australian animals exported to Gaza have one thing in common with the local abattoir workers who will eventually end their lives … they are afraid of each other.

Defenders of live export would have us believe they are providing a ‘human benefit’ to communities in importing countries. But the grim reality is that in places like Gaza, this is an industry that compromises the welfare of both people and animals.

Australian cattle exported to Gaza often come from vast stations and have had very little human handling. Much of the cruelty witnessed over the years in foreign abattoirs — whether in Indonesia, Jordan or Gaza — is the result of fearful workers unable to properly handle or control large, untamed and stressed animals.

As the latest scenes from Gaza show, this volatile mix inevitably leads to terrible cruelty.

In one scene witnessed by an Animals Australia investigator, the anxiety of the slaughterman is obvious. He skirts around the terrified bull who is struggling to free himself from his neck rope. The worker reaches in and stabs at the animal’s throat haphazardly. Without any proper means to restrain the bull, the worker’s sole goal becomes weakening the animal through blood loss so that he will eventually collapse to the ground where he will be slaughtered.

In other cases of fear-driven violence, a wide-eyed bull is stabbed in the eye to blind him and another bull has his rear leg tendons cut to restrict his ability to escape. It is effectively ‘restraint’ via pain.

Even inside the one abattoir which has been audited and approved to take Australian animals in Gaza, the fear of the workers when close to large Australian bulls is palpable and results in protracted and painful deaths.

It is understandable that when confronted with such horrendous scenes of cruelty, one instantly looks to blame the perpetrator. But the real perpetrator in this case is a profit-driven industry indifferent to the suffering of animals and people.

It is both tragic and fortunate that this level of fear-induced trauma need never occur, since Australia already exports chilled/frozen meat into Gaza.

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