20 May 2013
The live export industry pretends that ending this cruel trade would be bad news for Australia's economy. Here are 10 reasons why that's simply not the case.
- Because live export represents a tiny fraction of Australia's exports. In fact live export makes up only 0.4% of our total exports — less than alcohol!
- Because most Australian farmers do not live export. In 2012-2013 just 6% of cattle and 7% of sheep raised for slaughter in Australia actually went into the live export trade.
- Because any political decision to end live export would be a transition over a number of years ... allowing farmers time to adjust their businesses.
- Because Australia's chilled meat trade is more economically valuable. Exports of chilled and frozen meat are worth 12 times more to Australia's economy than live export for slaughter.
Because the shift away from live export is already happening. Boxed meat exports from Australia are at record levels and continue to dwarf the live trade, with industry bodies predicting this trend will continue as consumer preferences change, particularly throughout the Middle East. During the 18 months the live trade was suspended to Bahrain they had entirely replaced live sheep imports from Australia with Australian sheep meat. Unwilling to sign up to Australian welfare standards, Saudi Arabia takes Australian boxed beef instead, with beef exports to that country rising 107% last financial year. All of this means that Australian animals are not forced to endure the stress of lengthy sea voyages then fully conscious slaughter at the other end.
- Because ending live export will create jobs in Australia. The vast majority of jobs currently supported by live export will still exist without it — in fact more jobs will be created if we stop sending animals off shore. Western Australian abattoirs already have capacity to take all sheep
currently going into the live trade — a transition predicted to
create an additional 2,000 jobs in WA.
- Because the development of new abattoirs in the North will provide more security for cattle farmers. In fact, the latest economic research shows that cattle producers could double their pre-tax income and some 1,300 jobs would be created if they had access to an abattoir.
- Because nothing could be more high risk than relying on the live animal export trade. Whether triggered by trade disputes, rejections, incidents at sea or animal cruelty exposés — markets can close to producers overnight.
- Because a 10 year analysis of prices have proved that live export does not underpin the price of sheep meat on the domestic market. The research by Sapere Research group determined sheep prices are similar across all geographic locations in Australia regardless of exposure to the live trade.
- Because producers, politicians and the community are being deceived by an industry that puts profits over ethics and welfare. After nearly 20 years in Egypt and 18 years in Indonesia, investigations have repeatedly revealed that all the live export industry has done is endorse the use of brutal slaughter devices, condone un-stunned slaughter and ignore the cruelty that inevitably results.
It's time to end live export: for animals, for farmers and for our country.
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