PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On OCT 18, 2016
Farmers kept in the dark over live export animal abuse
Animals Australia is calling for mandatory notification of livestock producers whose animals have been involved in breaches of live export regulations.
Significant breaches of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) were once again detected by Animals Australia investigators in Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Lebanon during the recent Festival of Sacrifice. Many of the livestock markets were repeat offenders, well known to the industry.
"We were shocked to see Australian sheep once again being openly sold in notorious livestock markets," said Animals Australia Chief Investigator Lyn White AM.
"It is abundantly clear that exporters believe that they have nothing to fear in terms of regulatory consequences. Perhaps feeling the wrath of the producers who entrusted animals into their care will act as a stronger motivator to comply with regulations," Ms White said.
"Producers have every right to expect that any teething problems with this regulatory system would now be fixed. Yet four years later, export companies continue to flout the rules, and the cruelty that this system was established to prevent continues unabated."
In Malaysia, Animals Australia's first comprehensive investigation revealed a complete disregard for ESCAS regulations, with animals openly being sold from importer's feedlots and crudely slaughtered at private premises.
"The handling and slaughter of Australian sheep and goats in Malaysia at numerous non-approved sites was some of the most distressing I have witnessed. It was nothing short of a blood bath," she added.
"That animals raised and cared for by Australian producers end up in such circumstances is appalling. Producers would be equally outraged, yet the only time that they are advised is on the occasions that we are able to determine an animal's property of origin."
"It should be mandatory for producers to be notified by the Department if their animals have been involved in breaches of regulations. Only then can they make informed decisions as to whether they want to continue to supply their animals to the export market."
Representatives from Meat and Livestock Australia as well as export companies were present in the country but failed to prevent breaches or report them to the Department of Agriculture.
"Engaging Simon Crean to provide a credible front for export companies was straight from the PR playbook. Our evidence once again presents a reality that is poles apart from the industry spin," " Ms White continued.
"It is clearly not in the interest of export companies to be transparent with producers. Were it not for Animals Australia's investigations this year, producers would have had no idea that the nightly sledgehammering of Australian cattle in Vietnam had continued, or that once again there were dreadful outcomes for animals during the Festival of Sacrifice," she said
Footnote: Animals Australia has written to over 50 producers to notify them that their animals have been involved in recent ESCAS breaches.
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