Major live export investigation exposes animal welfare atrocities

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 23 October 2014

Australian cattle in Gaza have again been subjected to sickening abuse, in cruelty so extreme, it can only be described as animal welfare atrocities.

Animals Australia said the cruelty documented by investigators during the recent Festival of Sacrifice in Gaza, Jordan, Kuwait and Malaysia is a direct result of the Australian government’s failure to hold export companies accountable for recurring breaches of live export regulations.

“It is nothing short of criminal, that a year on, we have again seen horrendous abuse of Australian cattle in Gaza while for the exporter legally responsible it is business-as-usual," said Animals Australia Campaign Director Lyn White.

“Despite extensive evidence of recurring breaches and shocking animal welfare consequences, there has not been a single prosecution of an export company, or a single charge laid."

In Gaza, investigators filmed Australian bulls having their legs and neck roped and being strung out between poles before having their throats sawn open; bulls being stabbed, beaten and having their tails broken; amid other cruelties, impossible to quantify.

The exporter implicated again in Gaza is Livestock Shipping Services (LSS), the same exporter under investigation for over a dozen serious breaches of regulations in Gaza, Jordan and now Kuwait. Bulls brutalised in this most recent footage from Gaza had LSS ear tags.

In Jordan and Kuwait, investigators filmed Australian sheep being bound, dragged, stuffed into car boots, thrown on to trucks and brutally slaughtered in locations the subject of nine previous complaints to the Department of Agriculture over the past 18 months.

“This shocking abuse could have been prevented had the Department of Agriculture taken strong action against exporters who have repeatedly shown a brazen disregard for regulations in these markets."

“What we have documented should be considered only a ‘snap shot’ of what occurred. Sheep and cattle producers should be equally up in arms at the lack of regulatory action that has led to their animals being abused once again."

Over the past 18 months, Animals Australia has lodged 12 extensive legal complaints relating to the ongoing abuse of Australian cattle in Gaza, and more recently the illegal trucking of 2,500 cattle across the border from Israel.

“Barnaby Joyce is overseeing a regulatory system that is shambolic and has no credibility whatsoever. The only reason the government even knows about these breaches is because of the work of a charity."

“Ear tags are being deliberately removed from animals in many markets to prevent the identification of offending exporters which is akin to wiping fingerprints from a crime scene. Yet nothing has been done to curb this blatant destruction of evidence."

Footage obtained from one approved abattoir in Kuwait, where Meat and Livestock Australia consultants were facilitating the sale and slaughter of Australian sheep, revealed it was not even compliant with Australian requirements.

Investigators also documented the horrific street slaughter of an Australian steer in Malaysia where the terrified animal was bound with ropes, forced to the ground before having its throat cut.

“ESCAS says all animals must remain in approved supply chains, not most, let alone thousands of animals. This is not innocent ‘leakage’ as the industry would like us to believe, it is deliberate on-selling, resulting in animals being subjected to horrific treatment and deaths."

“Animals Australia has done everything in its power to make live export regulations work to protect Australian animals from abuse, including conducting the investigations necessary to advise the Department of Agriculture of breaches."

“The fact that thousands of animals are continuing to be subjected to sickening cruelty in a number of markets, and yet we are seeing no commercial consequences for responsible export companies to motivate compliance, means that we are left with little choice but to relaunch our public campaign to end live export."

NB — Exporters ‘self reported’ breaches in Kuwait and Jordan (and Oman/UAE) after Animals Australia made breaches public and the presence of investigators in the region known.