On Tuesday October 11, Labor was presented with a critical opportunity to spare millions of animals an agonising death by mandating that exported animals be stunned unconscious at slaughter.
Encouraged by letters, e-mails and phone calls of support from over 60,000 caring Australians, Labor MPs and Senators were under no illusions as to public expectations, and that there was no reasonable excuse not to pass the motion before caucus submitted by MP Tony Zappia.
Despite appeals from some caring Labor MPs during caucus debate, the motion was considerably weakened from 'mandating' stunning to 'encouraging' stunning — meaning that animals will continue to be exported and have their throats cut while fully conscious in foreign abattoirs.
New legislation, new hope
Unsatisfied with Labor's disappointing position, staunch opponent of the live trade independent MP Andrew Wilkie announced his intention to submit new legislation to parliament requiring that if the live export industry is to continue for the time being, it must include animal welfare safeguards and specifically afford animals the most basic protection from un-stunned slaughter.
This new legislation comes off the back of ongoing efforts by Wilkie to legislate a total phase out of the inherently cruel live trade — a position the Tasmanian MP still upholds.
"I held out hope that the Caucus would show genuine consideration for animal welfare and the overwhelming public pressure for reform, and was shocked to learn that stunning is considered an option rather than a necessity.
"The shocking animal cruelty revealed by 4 Corners some months ago provided an historic opportunity to finally do something about Australia’s barbaric live animal export industry. We must seize the moment for the sake of the animals and out of respect for public opinion." — Andrew Wilkie in a press release on Tuesday.
What you can do
Both the Coalition and Labor's outdated policies to support the interests of the live export industry are clearly at odds with the interests of animals and the Australian public. Please send your MP a reminder that while caring Australians want an end to live export, the very least we should be able to expect from our elected representatives is to ensure that animals born into Australian care are spared from the horrors of fully conscious slaughter. Click here to send an instant message now, or use the form below to find the contact details of your representative:
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