Live export update – more evidence of more cruelty in more countries

Animals Australia, the group that gathered the footage screened by 60 Minutes last weekend, has released more footage and information about similar levels of cruelty inflicted on Australian animals in Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. All of these countries are major importers of Australian sheep and cattle. They visited abattoirs, market places and feedlots in each of the countries.

My previous posts on this issue can be found be clicking here and here.

As someone who is rather cynical about how much things really change follwing the government and industry assurances that accompany each new scandal, this quote from investigator Lyn White was particularly telling:

“In Kuwait we re-visited the municipal abattoir where in 2003 we documented terrible handling and slaughter of Australian sheep. In March 2004, the day after this abattoir was publicly exposed on national television, Meat and Livestock Australia announced a 4-day animal handling workshop in Kuwait. Two years later, the footage taken tells the story – nothing had changed. Sheep were being subjected to brutal handling right up until their deaths.”

Having done a bit of checking in the last day or so, I have made over 10 speeches in the Senate raising concerns with the live export trade, as well as used Question Time 3 times to seek a response direct from a Minister. (My most recent speech – on Monday night – can be read here, and my question from yesterday can be read here).

It really does give me a strong sense of deja vu, as it tends to all follow a predictable pattern: –
Some graphic footage or information is shown in the media, which leads to public outrage, which leads to government expressions of concern and support for animal welfare, followed by an investigation or inquiry, followed by announcements of changes or additional actions, accompanied by assurances that all is now fine and it would all be a lot worse if we left this trade to other countries. This dampens things down until the next story comes out showing that not much has changed at all, and then the whole cycle repeats itself. Throughout all this the industry keeps repeating mantras like “their religious practices mean it has to be slaughtered over there” or “they don’t have the refrigeration to take frozen meat”, despite these being shown long ago to have about a 5% element of truth to them.

Perhaps the release of this extra footage by Animals Australia showing the problems are not confined to one rogue abbatoir might finally provide a tipping point on this issue.

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61 Comments

  1. Learn to spell, learn to use paragraphs, stop being so shrill and your numerous NFP agencies might actually be effective.

    At the moment you are just frothing at the mouth, it’s quite sad.

  2. With the financially viable alternative of exporting Australian meat frozen to the Middle East and elsewhere, what is stopping the government
    from taking a stand to end the live export trade?

    Maybe the truth lies in the words of Paul Harvey (1918-, American ABC radio personality): “Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much
    concerned with animal suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don’t vote.”

    And as Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) said : “Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs.”

    When will the cruelty end?

  3. My family and I are producers of exotic sheep that are bred specifically for the meat trade, they are hardy, well doing sheep that do not need tail docking, no muelsing and no shearing. they thrive in the arid regions of australia and do well. these are the same sheep breed that the arabs like as they are “familiar” to them.
    We where attempting to expose these sheep to the domestic abbattoirs and butchers as being a humane alternative as there was no muelsing, shearing etc. while we where breaking into the domestic and carcase trade, we where forced, against our desires, to sell our excess supply to a live exporter. after the Cormo, the exporter advised that he no longer needed our sheep and could get all he wanted close to port.

    We now have been forced to sell them to wholesale butchers and pet food manufactuers. Please do not tell me that a ban on exports would be good for australian sheep. Butchers and abattoirs continue to use traditional lamb with all it’s welfare issues and we have been hung out to dry. the “support” from australian processors that you recieve has nothing to do with welfare of sheep. it is all about limiting marketing option to producers and driving down farm gate prices (Roger Flecher of Flecher International exports.)

    My family have made a consious decision to rase sheep suited to the environment and taken note of welfare and we have been SCREWED again. we as producers do care about animal welfare, a happy sheep is a healthy sheep and a healthy sheep is more productive. it saddened us all to see what goes on overseas and yes, we all would love to export frozen product. I would like to encourage people to focus their efforts on ESTABLISHING a carcase trade with these countries. If that where sucessful, the live export trade would die a natural death.

  4. Kent. thats a good post. Please see http://www.halakindmeats.com
    I would like to contact you. Of course while Mark Vaile continues to arrange live exports direct with overeas Government its harder but not impossible. We have made a start. Guys like you with a brain are hard to find. The other very real worry that is getting even worse is the attempt to take over animal welfare by vegans. Here we are trying to be fair and encourage the public to think.

  5. Given the two page spread in the Australian Andrew why dont we have a post on RSPCA Animals Australia and Vegan veg against meat eaters . After all its a pretty hot topic. We saw your post or the report on PETA Andrew and its of interest to a great many of us. After all its become a war hasnt it. I mean animals Australia have attacked RSPCA right out and rightfully so to i might add in many cases. I think it would be good to get the publics ideas on if they want all vegan groups pushing out the average jo blow who has concern for animals but are also meat eaters . It should bring much interest to your post.

  6. I won’t waste too much time or effort on “Yobbo” other than to say that his pseudonym is fairly accurate, compounded by the afore-mentioned lack of common decency. And one more thing – in that instance (“Sixty Minutes”)it was about cattle (Yobbo, please familiarize yourself with the topic of the debate before inflicting your abhorrent rhetoric on us. I would be happy to send you a copy of the film footage if you provide a mailing address for your neanderthal cave. It seems clear that most of us would be happy to see you reincarnated as one of your own sheep, sent to the Middle East).
    This debate is not about the Muslim people, nor is it about vegetarianism/veganism, it is about obscene animal cruelty, sustained by farmers, their agents and in particular governments. Farmers are, in fact, one of the most privileged groups in Australian society given the government (i.e. taxpayer-funded) handouts and the unique tax evasion strategies open to them, so let’s not waste any tears on what is in fact losing an extra few dollars per head – not their entire income base.Having said that, at least the farmer who committed the atrocity of sending his “surplus” animals on live exports because he couldn’t get enough dollars for them here has apparently given cruelty some thought before the dollar signs took over.
    Amongst the reasons that live exports continue is the vested interests within the government (and opposition) – have a look at the biographies on the Parliament website. On the Senate Committee for Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport looking at the Bartlett Animal Welfare Bill is at least one live export farmer (Ferris, see Hansard references) – plus Heffernan, who generally regards animal welfare as a joke. This is how you get the answers you want to hear – you stack the committee of enquiry.
    While the government is able to continue to totally ignore the wishes and interests of the people (including the 20,000 odd meatworkers whose jobs have been lost because of live exports), and hide the truth as well as it does, this indefensible, heinous industry will continue. But Andrew – we do appreciate your efforts! Hang in there.

  7. So no where above do I see an apology for inaccurate investigation by ms white in saying those cattle were Australian. They were not. Australian cattle are killed in the specially built kill boxes seen in the video.

    No-one has analysed the income of Australian farmers, or aknowledged that selling to live export may mean the difference between making a minuscle profit or making a loss.

    Live export provides a valueable floor price to Australian producers, without that prices would collapse by 30% or more. Dear old Rodger isnt going to keep paying the old price when he can screw producers down with no competition. As for cutting out the middleman, how easy on paper, even without the culture of farmers who are by nature individuals and dont work well collectively. Come back with a fully costed master plan, and letters of credit from o/s buyers right back through the chain to the dear old truckie that comes to collect the animal, the hire of the slaughterhouse to kill and dress the animal, the hire of the freezers, the conainers, the shipping agents and the people at the other end who dont want to deal with small stuff – have the farmer completely morgage her farm to cover all this outlay then be sold up for not servicing the mortgage because o/s or someone down the line hasnt paid, and I can see quite easily how much more attractive it would be to take the best money on offer at the saleyard and say thank you.

    I should say that I am a farmer and mistreatment of animals will continue, both here and overseas, to shut LEX down means it continues without our ivestment of R&D and ability to change and influence how animals are treated. We are dealing with a culture in this instance that is thousands of years old. We are not going to change that in 5 minutes. We can, over time, educate slaughter houses how meat is much better and lasts longer if an animal is not stressed when it ides, and how much safer it is to slaughtermen to kill animals that are restrained in a

  8. to continue:
    killbox. Peta and co are targetting Oz because we are the big guys in this area, and have the best and most humane record. If they can knock us off, then they may have leverege over other countries.

    If we do leave, it will still go on, that is the culturething. Leave, and forget about it ostritch like because if we cant see it it isnt happening, or stay and influence change for the future?

  9. I don’t understand why these practices are still continuing.

    We should go back to slaughtering, freezing and loading meat onto ships for export.

    The live export of animals takes work away from our own butchers and dock workers.

    It causes the animals to suffer and gives work to barbarians.

    How can three things that are wrong make this practice right?

    They can stick their religious practices up their butts and buy what we are willing to sell.

  10. I forgot about a possible fourth wrong thing.

    These barbarians probably pay even less for the animals after they have lost weight, been injured or died during the voyage.

    Who is footing the bill for the financial losses?

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