Live Animal Export – the dirty truth
Australia is the largest exporter of live animals to foreign soil than any other country. In fact, Australia, is the largest exporter of livestock to the Middle East and African Union, and has signed a MOU or a Memorandum of Understanding with these countries.
This states that all animals will be unloaded upon arrival regardless of health, thus allowing receiving trading partners to improve upon animal handling and slaughter compliance.
The Australian Government website www.daff.gov.au clearly states that the Government will not tolerate cruelty towards animals and that current standards will not be compromised, however, in the same breath, it underlines the acceptable mortality rates of animals in transportation.
Sheet and goats: 2%
Cattle and buffalo on voyage less than 10 days: 0.5%
Cattle and buffalo on voyage more than 10 days: 1%
The Australian government clearly articulates that an acceptable number of deaths in the transportation phase is acceptable, but we argue to the contrary and facts prove that the mortality rates are far greater than the acceptable standards set by DAFF.
Many of the statistic on this website, quote figures from as far back as 2003 when the last ‘broad-ranging investigation into Australia’s livestock export industry” was conducted. In this, ”Dr John Keniry recommended initiatives to improve animal welfare conditions in the livestock export trade including better infrastructure to reduce livestock stress or injury and training for feedlot, abattoir and transport staff in overseas markets” (source: daff.gov.au)
This report was over 11 years ago, and since then, Australia has totally dropped the ball on this issue.
The world has changed in 11 years, the conditions in the Middle East have changed and so have the conditions in Africa, and yet, here we are still operating in these antiquated guidelines that are totally out of touch and out of line with reality and current events and attitudes.
While it’s all very well and good for the Australian Government to object to inhumane treatment of Australian animals, it fails to take into consideration that the slaughter standards in Australian are (more regulated) although still cruel , than those of other countries.
The Ugly Facts About Live Export
Voyages upon vessels by sea, often last in excess of three weeks. In this time, animals are densely packed together with little or no ventilation.
High ammonia and waste levels are worsened by intense heat and other changes to climatic conditions on board, combined with changes to feed often combine to result in:
Animals stand in their own waste for the entire journey. The stench from these live export ships is overwhelming.
Animals suffer from transportation distress; from being herded and confused for weeks on end, and many die simply from this.
The Australian Govt will only trigger investigations of neglect or mismanagement on live export voyages, if 2% of sheep or 1% of cattle die, however, on any single voyage, a vessel can carry up to 70,000 animals, that means, that 1,400 animals must die before any formal investigation is undertaken.
Not to mention, in recent times the many disasters at sea where ships have broken down and receiving countries have refused to allow animals to disembark, resulting in thousands and thousands of Australian livestock dyeing on board.
Inhumane slaughter is what awaits those animals that do finally make it to higher ground, and there is much evidence that has been gathered from the Australian Government that supports and recognizes this.
Animals are required to be slaughtered within ‘approved supply chain’ conditions under the ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) however, it is widely recognized that there are deficiencies within this system that result in the inhumane treatment of animals particularly during religions festivals in the Middle East.
Documentary evidence clearly identifies animals being transported on vehicle roof racks, in the boots of cars or tied down in the backs of trucks. These animals are not being transported within the approved supply chain requirements that the Australian professes and many are taken to private locations where they have their throats cut, have their tendons slashed, their eyes stabbed, tails cut off or any other measure it takes to bring the animal to the ground, where it finally bleeds to death in a drain somewhere.
What Australia fails to acknowledge, is that even in these so called, “approved” supply chains, many of the animals are not stunned adequately and often bleed out while fully conscious. Many of the animals that we have witnessed during this off-shore process required multiple stabs with knives to facilitate blood flow leading to death.
The ESCAS does not have adequate legal jurisdiction over animals once on foreign soil to enable the government to enforce and impose slaughter standards to Australian animals. This is resulting in animal handling and mass slaughter practices that would outrage the common person, and violate any Australian laws and regulations.