As a result of Animals Australia's investigation in Indonesia last year, new government regulations are now in place that have forced the live export industry to transform itself — adhering to new rules that will make exporting live animals more expensive, more difficult and importantly, more heavily scrutinised.
This new system came into effect in some parts of the Middle East and in Turkey on March 1st. Live exporters who are so used to setting their own rules, must now prove animals can be traced right through until slaughter in importing countries and they can only use abattoirs that meet basic standards. While the bar is still set way too low — with fully conscious slaughter continuing — these reforms still represented the strongest action ever taken against an industry that had for too long been a law until itself.
However, the inherent cruelty involved in this trade, reinforced most recently by the tragic deaths of some 3,000 Brazilian cattle onboard a live export ship, means animals exported live will always be at risk at sea and in importing countries. Sadly, this was again proved to be the case when Animals Australia took a second look inside Indonesian slaughterhouses.
Recently, one of our investigators in Indonesia documented further abuse of cattle — showing that it is impossible for Australian regulations to protect our animals from abuse on foreign shores. Our investigation also exposed a major flaw in this new system — breaches still needs to occur before any action can be taken and sadly, Animals Australia is still being forced to be the watchdog of this industry. The government has launched an investigation and an exporter has admitted involvement. This is the same exporter who had just weeks earlier protested the deadline for meeting the stricter export rules to the Middle East (after 30 years in the business) — and a company that The Australian newspaper recently revealed is no stranger to controversy in the live trade.
The government is yet to prove that the days of self-regulation of this industry are over. This will be their first opportunity to do so, and the public will expect nothing less than strong and appropriate action to be taken against the exporter involved in this breach of regulations.
Nothing less than a complete ban on live animal export will appease the Australian public, but the industry now know that the days of lawlessness and secrecy that have been the lifeblood of the live trade, are over. Caring Australians continue to make live export the number one issue hitting the inboxes of our politicians — some 40,000 emails of concern were sent to pollies after our latest investigation. Top barristers warned the live export trade's days are numbered; the Australian Greens echoed this sentiment, renewing calls for the trade to be banned; Federal Labor MPs re-ignited the debate for mandatory stunning; and all parliamentarians will get the chance to make this happen when Independent MP Andrew Wilkie's legislation to require stunning for all exported animals is voted on in the coming months.
Not for one moment will Animals Australia take our eyes off this industry in 2012. The live export trade is on a precipice and with your continued support we'll keep them there until we end this trade once and for all.
If you want to see an end to live animal exports too, please spare one minute to click here and remind your MP that animals deserve better.