PRESS RELEASE: Stunning the glaring omission in live export review

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On OCT 21, 2011

The horrors of un-stunned slaughter will continue for Australian exported animals despite clear precedents showing pre-slaughter stunning is not only achievable, but is widely accepted by religious authorities.

Animals Australia Executive Director Glenys Oogjes said the Farmer Review’s failure to recommend mandatory stunning was a missed opportunity to put in place a basic yet critical protection for Australian animals, plus improve standards for all animals in importing countries.

"Much of the suffering documented in Indonesia and indeed by Animals Australia in other live export markets, is the result of un-stunned slaughter. To not even include stunning in a recommendation ignores the elephant in the room and is completely at odds with the wishes of not only the Australian community but with Australian cattle and sheep producers. "

"The fact that some 70 abattoirs in Indonesia are expected to be stunning Australian cattle by the end of this year shows what is achievable when the industry has the incentive to make it happen. Australian exporters have the same commercial leverage in every live export market to require standards that will reduce the suffering of exported animals. "

Animals Australia said the second critical omission of the review was its failure to address the obvious conflict of interest faced by veterinarians on board live export vessels - despite evidence of bullying and of vets who report negative findings being ostracised by the industry.

"The onboard veterinarian is the only government representative on the ship. The fact that they are chosen by the exporter and paid by the exporter is a clear conflict of interest which fails to give vets the independence and security they require to fulfil their duties. That this obvious failure in the system was not addressed is totally unacceptable and will continue to result in inaccurate reporting. "

Whilst welcoming the implementation of assured supply chains, Animals Australia expressed its disappointed that the review and government failed to acknowledge the key role that it has played in forcing the government to transform the live trade.

"Animals Australia should never have been forced into the role of industry watchdog. Nine different investigations since 2003 revealed appalling cruelty and the willingness of the live trade to supply animals regardless of the cruelty they would face. The tragedy is that it has taken a further investigation by Animals Australia and some of the most appalling cruelty ever documented in Indonesia, to force action to be taken.
"Even if all of the recommendations from this review are successfully implemented, the live trade will remain completely unacceptable to the vast majority of the community. The recommendations will not prevent the suffering and deaths of our animals at sea – nor the terrible cruelty inherent to slaughtering animals whilst fully conscious, " concluded Ms Oogjes.

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