PRESS RELEASE: Live Export Vote Fails Animals and Australians

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On AUG 18, 2011

Animals Australia and the RSPCA says the federal Parliament’s decision to vote down legislation that would have ended live export was bitterly disappointing and completely out of touch with the wishes of the Australian community.

RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil said if MPs had been allowed to vote with their conscience rather than along party lines Australia would today be celebrating an end to the cruellest trade this country has ever known.

"MPs cannot shy away from the fact that a vote for live export is a vote for animal cruelty. Every year Australian animals are sent to countries where laws do not protect them from cruelty. The vast majority are slaughtered while fully conscious.

"Right now there are 67,000 sheep stranded on a livestock vessel for the 9th day in Port Adelaide in just the latest in a litany of problems at sea that have plagued this trade since it began. Today our parliament voted for all of this to continue."

Australia’s two peak animal welfare bodies said despite today’s result, a very big step had been taken towards the ultimate end of the live export trade.

"It has never been clearer that the live export industry cannot be trusted and will do and say anything to justify supplying animals to cruelty. Public and political scrutiny of this trade will not diminish and we welcome the announcement by Andrew Wilkie and Adam Bandt that they will reintroduce legislation to the Parliament on live export", said Ms Neil.

Animals Australia cruelty investigator, Lyn White, said the live export industry did not deserve another chance.

"That the Gillard government has remained wedded to the live trade despite overwhelming evidence of complicity in mass animal cruelty in Indonesia and other importing countries is inconceivable and unforgiveable.

"Not content with already exporting to around a dozen countries where laws don’t protect animals from cruelty – the live export industry continues to develop new markets without any concern for the consequences for the animals exported there."

Evidence recently obtained in Turkey by Animals Australia revealed once again that horrendous slaughter practices in importing countries are routine.

"Despite the fact that these practices also breach international guidelines, the Gillard government has allowed live exporters to export some 500,000 Australian animals to Turkey over the past eighteen months.

"In Turkish abattoirs conscious sheep and cattle are routinely shackled by a rear leg and hoisted into the air for the throat cut. This is a clear breach of OIE/international guidelines which the Australian Department of Agriculture has long preached as being the base level that had to be met for importing countries.

"This further evidence reveals once again the failure of live exporters and the Gillard government to protect the welfare of Australian animals.

"Australians are ashamed and distressed by our involvement in the live export trade. There will be outrage around Australia today that our political representatives have voted against the wishes of the people and allowed this cruel trade to continue," concluded Ms White.

Background: Live Export Investigation – Turkey 2011

In July 2011, Animals Australia investigators completed an initial assessment of slaughter practices in Turkey, which is a new and major market for Australian livestock.

The need for this investigation became clear when Meat and Livestock Australia admitted that they had little knowledge of distribution networks or routine handling and slaughter practices in Turkey.

Investigators were not able to confirm that animals documented in this footage were Australian -- only that Australian animals are handled and slaughtered at these facilities.

Footage from the Animals Australia 2011 investigation to Turkey is available for download at http://animalsaustralia-media.org/upload/turkey/

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