PRESS RELEASE: Australian cattle brutalised in Gaza



Evidence of sickening abuse of Australian cattle exported to Gaza should re-ignite a national debate on the legitimacy of the live export trade.

Shocking footage of Australian cattle being abused in the Gaza Strip in October has been provided to all MPs and Senators. Filmed by civilians during the Festival of Sacrifice, the footage shows cattle being terrorised by crowds and tortured in streets and makeshift slaughterhouses - all in breach of Australia's live export regulations.

“There are no words to adequately describe the carnage in these videos and the scale of abuse endured by Australian cattle. It is shocking and completely harrowing to watch,” said Animals Australia Campaign Director, Lyn White.

The dozens of videos uploaded to YouTube show terrified cattle tied to poles, trees and vehicles, being stabbed repeatedly in the neck, having their legs bound before being violently forced to the ground and 'strung out' for slaughter, being beaten and dragged off trucks - and in two particularly sadistic acts - one bound animal was stabbed in the eye, whilst another knee-capped with bullets from an assault rifle.

“Any politician or industry supporter who has propagated the industry's clever PR line that we can improve animal welfare by being in the market should be locked in a room and forced to watch an hour of footage from Gaza.

"Only through viewing this sickening footage can you fully understand the extent of the horror these animals endured. There is a moral imperative on every politician to watch it as many have pre-conditioned their support of live export continuing on the basis that animals are treated humanely.”

Animals Australia has lodged a significant legal complaint in relation to live export breaches in Gaza, the third such complaint in two months following breaches of regulations in Jordan and Mauritius.

“There is now extensive evidence that Australian animals in three export markets were subjected to horrendous cruelty during the Festival of Sacrifice in October - cruel treatment that live export regulations were put in place to prevent.

"The ineffectiveness of Australian regulations is obvious. This situation in Gaza would not even have been known had it not been for an Israeli media report. It is no wonder that at least some exporters are not taking their legal obligations seriously.

“This industry is making fools of politicians and producers by playing on their inability to see the reality for animals in importing markets. So acceptable is this brutal treatment to locals that they are cheering and filming the spectacle on mobile phones. 

“This is what Australian exporters have been exporting animals to for decades. It is time for every politician to search their consciences as to how they can allow this trade to continue.

“Politicians need to wake up to the fact that they have had the wool pulled over their eyes. Most Australian farmers do not live export and run profitable businesses. Live export is a small and declining industry worth not even 0.3 % of Australia's total exports - with even alcohol exports more valuable. Yet the entire agricultural sector is tarnished by the existence of the live trade and cruelty associated with it.”

According to the Department of Agriculture website, Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) is the only Australian exporter with an approved supply chain into Palestine. LSS is currently under investigation for widespread breaches of regulations in Jordan in June and October.


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