OPINION: We need to hold animal exporters to account

Despite regular breaches of Australian live-export laws in multiple countries – resulting in the suffering of hundreds of thousands of animals – not one export company has been prosecuted on charges of cruelty to animals.

OPINION: By ASHLEY FRUNO, PETA AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF CAMPAIGNS on SEP 6, 2017 | The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia.
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Following the deaths of 3027 sheep aboard Al Messilah, a cargo ship operated by Perth-based exporter Emanuel Exports, the government of Western Australia has requested that constitutional barriers to the punishment of live exporters over animal-welfare concerns be removed.

In 2008, Emanuel Exports faced charges of breaching the state Animal Welfare Act when 1340 sheep died aboard the vessel Al Kuwait but, owing to discrepancies between state and Commonwealth law, the charges were dismissed.

Since this precedent was set, more than 165,000 cattle, sheep, goats, and buffaloes have died during international transit, suffering from conditions such as enteritis, pink eye-induced blindness, pneumonia, and – as was the case with the sheep aboard Al Messilah – heatstroke.

Total abolition of the live-export industry is the best solution but, in the meantime, placing jurisdiction regarding matters of animal welfare in the hands of the state governments whose regulations are violated when a live-export voyage results in animal suffering and/or death is a reasonable and necessary step.

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