HSI welcomes continued support for conscience vote on ending live trade
In light of Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig’s recent decision to lift the ban on the export of live cattle to Indonesia, HSI welcomes the support being received from of a growing number labor MPs who are continuing to raise concerns about the welfare of Australian cattle being sent to slaughter in Indonesian abattoirs.
An ALP Caucus resolution from 14 June 2011, called for the immediate cessation of live cattle exports to Indonesia until all slaughter houses receiving Australian cattle comply with international OIE standards, encouraging the use of stunning and requiring ongoing independent monitoring. (June 14, 2011 Federal Parliamentary Labor Party Caucus).
“HSI congratulates the backbench members of the Labor Party for continuing to stand up to their colleagues on the front bench and push for greater welfare standards to be afforded to Australian animals being sent to Indonesia”, HSI’s Director, Verna Simpson said. “We certainly see the repeal of the ban as highly premature, and remain deeply concerned that cattle sent to Indonesia abattoirs will not be stunned before slaughter”.
Such support has come at an opportune moment, as there are growing calls for the Prime Minister to allow a conscience vote on the upcoming Private Member’s Bills on the future of live animal exports.
“HSI wrote to all Federal Members of Parliament on 15 June asking that they call for a conscience vote on the live export issue and we are very pleased to see that a number of MPs are now championing this idea”, HSI’s Director, Verna Simpson said. “The toing and froing of animal welfare standards cannot continue at the expense of suffering animals.”
Amidst reports that Minister Ludwig was warned of the welfare issues associated with the live trade to Indonesia more than 8 months prior to the horrific images being aired in the ABC’s Four Corners program in May this year, HSI is seriously concerned with the Government’s haste to reopen the trade despite a lack of a complete review of animal welfare standards and improved industry practices and policies for live export.
HSI commends the Australian livestock industry and the Indonesian Beef Producer and Lot Feeder Association’s (APFINDO) recent announcement of strengthened efforts to increase the number of facilities that use stunning in Indonesia.
“Whilst HSI has grave concerns for the lifted ban, we are pleased that some parts of the industry has maintained efforts in upgrading standards to include stunning.” Ms Simpson explained. “With the lifting of the ban we are seeing continued compromise on the government’s behalf.”
In June, the Senate referred the Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill 2011 [No.2] and the Live Animal Export Restriction and Prohibition Bill 2011 [No. 2], and the need for further improvements in animal welfare in Australia, for inquiry and report by the Senate Standing Committees on Rural Affairs and Transport. Submissions are due by this Friday 15th July with the Committee to report next month.
HSI will be making a submission to the inquiry and will be recommending:
- the government reinstate the ban of live trade to Indonesia to prevent to continued inhumane treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia, and seek an end date for all live animal exports within 3 years;
- that if the government maintains live cattle export, they must include a guarantee that slaughter without stunning will not occur; and
- the establishment of an Australian Animal Welfare Council to provide accurate independent advice on animal welfare matters.