Spend on job creation, not overseas cruelty
It’s hard to know what the live animal export industry is more concerned about.
The fact that Australian animals are being tortured in Indonesia, or the fact that Australians now know that Australian animals are being tortured in Indonesia.
I have long been opposed to the live animal export industry.
I have never understood how an industry could morally justify the practice of sending animals to a foreign country where they will be subject to abuse and cruelty that would be illegal in Australia.
Let’s be clear about this.
If anyone in Australia did any of the thing we saw on Four Corners last night they would be charged and quite possibly jailed.
That’s why, with Andrew Wilkie, I have backed calls by the RSPCA and Animals Australia for an immediate ban on the live export of animals to Indonesia, and the ban within three years of all live animal exports from Australia.
The industry has asked for more time to reform the way they do things.
They have been asking for more time for the last two decades, during which time unimaginable cruelty has been done to an inestimable number of animals.
It’s also hard to trust an industry that thought the installation of taxpayer funded restraining boxes was a humane change to make to these slaughterhouses.
Even pretending the industry can reform itself ignores the fact that once the animals enter Indonesia they are no longer owned by us.
They become the property of Indonesian Customs.
Legally there is nothing we can do to enforce the humane treatment of these Australian animals.
In fact, it seems ridiculous the live export industry and successive Federal Governments have ever believed we can ensure the welfare of our animals in a country that has no laws concerning animal welfare.
In fact we can’t even track these animals once they are in Indonesia.
Some of the cattle featured on Four Corners last night were not meant to be in the abattoirs where they were killed.
Surely this indicates the possibility of industry reform is negligible.
Sadly, it is also difficult to trust the industry’s response to this latest crisis.
Last week they assured us via press release that no Australian animals would be sent to the three slaughterhouses featured in the ABC TV report.
However, the ABC has confirmed that Australian animals were still being tortured and killed in these slaughterhouses last night, as their program was going to air.
The industry has also countered today with the claim that a ban will cost jobs.
This is a specious argument.
Every animal killed overseas is an animal that is not being killed and processed in Australia.
The industry also claims that if we don’t sell Indonesia live animals they will source them from elsewhere.
Putting the moral bankruptcy of this argument to one side, it’s also not accurate.
The fact is when similar bans were imposed in Egypt in 2006 demand simply moved to packaged Australian meat, and capacity limitations globally indicate this will also occur when a ban is imposed on Indonesia, and later when a full ban is brought in within three years.
We need to increase the processing capacity here in Australia and the Government needs to get behind transport subsidies to get these animals to Australian abattoirs.
The least persuasive argument I have heard today came from National Party Leader Warren Truss who argued that we don’t shut down a highway just because someone dies in a car crash driving on it.
No, Warren, we don’t.
But I think if everyone on a highway was sent speeding straight into a brick wall only to die a predictable, slow and painful death, we might just look at shutting down that particular highway.
The Australian taxpayer has a clear choice.
Do we spend our money on creating Aussie jobs, or funding overseas cruelty?
I don’t think the industry was shocked by what was shown last night.
And I don’t think they should be shocked by the reaction.
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