CORANGAMITE MP Darren Cheeseman has thrown his support behind ending overseas livestock exports as the industry continues to come under attack by animal rights activists.
Mr Cheeseman, who occupies the ultra-marginal seat, revealed he wanted to see the livestock industry transition away from export in the wake of “appalling” slaughter footage aired on Four Corners.
“I think the best safeguard for Australian animals is to transition away from live export,” Mr Cheeseman said.
“Many Australians want to see it transition away from live animal exports … it’s certainly what the majority of people in my seat want.”
The Labor member also claimed processing sheep and cattle for export would add to the profitability of the industry. “If we process in Australia I can see that we would have more abattoirs employing more Australians,” he said.
Mr Cheeseman also defended welfare measures introduced by the federal government, claiming that up 80 per cent of cattle taken to Indonesia were now stunned, compared to just 10 per cent a year ago.
The slaughter of Australian livestock may also become a decisive issue for the electorate after it was revealed a new lobby group, Corangamite Against Live Animal Exports, would exclusively lobby Corangamite candidates to end live export.
Founding member and convener Dorothy Johnston said the group hoped to exploit the marginal balance to garner support for an export ban. Ms Johnston described the export industry as cruel and inhumane.
Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson stopped short of expressing a view when contacted yesterday but promised to meet with both sides of the debate. “The footage we’ve seen in recent days is distressing — I am very concerned about some animal welfare practices which continue in some other countries,” Ms Henderson said.
By Sean McComish, The Standard