The forgotten animals of live export

Animals Australia Live export ship

Australian dairy cattle allowed to perish on a property in Qatar were some of the thousands of dairy and breeding animals shipped all over the world each year — completely overlooked by live export rules.

A tragedy unfolding...

Despite intense public scrutiny of the cruel live export trade, tens of thousands of breeding animals are slipping through a veritable live export 'loophole'. As seen on ABC's 730 program, the consequences are horrifying...

When these Australian dairy cows were sent to Qatar, they were heavily pregnant. Though the risks they faced were no less than other exported animals, they were not part of any Government-sanctioned 'supply chain'. In fact, when breeding animals leave Australia, no one knows exactly where they will end up, or what suffering might await them.

Due to the brave efforts of two Australian whilstleblowers, shocking images reveal the extent of cruelty and neglect that these animals were forced to endure. Within a one week period, one in every four animals died of thirst or malnutrition. Mother cows, unable to nourish their calves, helplessly watched on as their babies perished in the squalid conditions.

Tragically, they weren't the first to suffer harrowing deaths on this property. Of 10,000 Australian 'breeding sheep' who arrived in February 2012, 7,000 died of malnutrition and heat-stress. Many of the lambs born to these undernourished animals also perished.

Despite having eye-witness accounts and photographic evidence, the Australian Government was unable to investigate the mistreatment and neglect of these dairy cattle and sheep because breeding animals are excluded from live export regulations.

The images are tragic, in every respect. But even more tragic is that no one will be held accountable for the appalling deaths of these animals. And there is nothing to stop this from happening again.

Take action below to tell your MP that if an industry cannot operate while meeting basic animal welfare standards then it is not an industry worthy of political support.

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Warning signs ignored

Earlier in 2012 Animals Australia called on the Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig, to urgently bring breeding and dairy animals into the live export regulatory framework, so that at the very least, their destination could be known and assessed.

Graphic vision was provided to demonstrate the risks imported breeding animals face in importing countries. In this video, an imported dairy cow (of unknown origin) is slaughtered in Turkey. Her unborn calf is cut out of her stomach and into a pool of blood on the kill floor. He gasps for air and calls out helplessly before he too has his throat slit. Australia continues to export dairy cows to Turkey and other countries including China and Indonesia, where there are no guarantees they will not also spend their final moments in places like this one.

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Take action now

Every month that passes, more 'breeding' animals and dairy cattle are leaving Australian shores for countries where there are no laws to protect them from cruelty. Their final destination, whether they will be abused or neglected, and in what circumstances they will die, is unknown. What can be exposed by whistleblowers will only be the tip of the iceberg.

On 30 April 2013 the long-awaited government review into the export of breeding animals was released by Agriculture Minister, Joe Ludwig. Tragically, the review concluded that it would be too complex and too expensive to implement similar requirements for breeder animals as those expected for animals exported for slaughter.

Inconceivably, the report went on to state that the 'administrative burden' of protecting these animals would likely 'outweigh the value of the trade'. This means that purely for profits on offer, tens of thousands of Australian cattle, sheep, buffalo and goats will continue to be exported with no adequate safeguards in place and most to countries where there are no laws to protect them from cruelty.

These animals have been abandoned by our government and live export industry, but they still have you.

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Animals Australia
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