PUBLISHED ON: 18 December 2013
Through bringing to light the cruelty previously hidden in this industry, and with the unwavering support of caring supporters, our work has achieved world-first live export regulations in Australia. Live export is now more difficult, more expensive, and fewer animals are being exported — meaning millions of Australian cattle, sheep and goats have been spared the trauma of a long sea journey and fully conscious slaughter.
Internationally, we work with local animal protection groups and governments to help drive positive changes on the ground, like the drafting of new animal protection laws in Jordan and prompting action by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on cruel unloading practices at ports.
And our ongoing collaboration with international governments and animal advocates to achieve real improvements in welfare for all animals will continue even after live export from Australia ends.
Industry representatives may claim that they need to be present in other countries to improve welfare, but in reality, live exporters sent animals to brutal conditions for decades without instigating any meaningful animal welfare improvements. It has only been when Animals Australia has exposed cruelty that the industry has been motivated to take action to improve standards.
Tragically, one industry-led initiative in Indonesia (and several other countries) was exposed in 2011 for actually facilitating animal abuse. A joint industry and tax-payer-funded project saw the installation of over 100 slaughter boxes that were so cruel they were banned after being publicly exposed by Animals Australia. Prior to this, these boxes were hailed by industry as a success story, and had the suffering they caused not been revealed to politicians and the public, they may still be in use today.
Continuing to knowingly send animals to cruel treatment and fully conscious slaughter is a seal of approval from live exporters. 'Business as usual' won't improve welfare. The only thing that will ensure that the wellbeing of all animals is truly prioritised and that will signal a clear need for change is when Australian animals are withdrawn from the market on welfare grounds.
Ultimately, regardless of conditions in importing countries, the reality is that long sea journeys are inherently stressful for the animals forced to endure them. Australian cattle raised on extensive properties, who are largely unused to human handling, and Australian sheep, who suffer inordinately in heat like that of the Middle East, should not be shipped halfway across the world just to be slaughtered.