This is a synthesis of news on the live export trade.
The Australian authorities face public outrage as a response to yet another instance of appalling cruelty inflicted on animals exported to the Middle East.
Around 150 protesters in Adelaide gathered on the steps of parliament house in the South Australian capital, calling on the federal government to end the trade in live animals. Sheep exported to Bahrain were barred on the grounds that some of the sheep were infected with scabby mouth disease. After being offloaded in Pakistan, around half of the 20, 000 sheep were culled in appalling ways, among claims that some were buried alive.
Vets Against Live Export (VALE) in Australia says: “The Karachi-based PK Meat and Food Company were apparently powerless to stop the seizure and brutal killing at the hands of the Pakistani authorities, although a court order has temporarily halted the killing… …
The latest episode comes only 14 months after the Four Corners Report on Indonesia, 8 months since Animals Australia revealed the failure of the ESCAS to protect Australian animals in Indonesia and in the same month as revelations of further failure of the ESCAS in Kuwait.” …
“…The Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), which allocated $5 million of taxpayer money directly to the exporters, was set up in an attempt to ensure that Australian animals are treated properly in importing countries.”
The Minister, Joe Ludwig, told ABC radio: “Where there’s an appalling circumstance like this, the regulator can investigate that (and) hold the exporter to account. But it doesn’t mean we have to stop the trade to Indonesia, it doesn’t mean we have to stop the trade to the Middle East.”
Though the Australian Greens are opposed in principle to exporting animals live, individual members of other parties have the same reservations. Kelvin Thomson is one such politician. Labor backbencher Melissa Parke also said the rules were clearly not working and called for an end to live animal exports. “Once you send the animals overseas you lose control of the environment,” Ms Parke said.
Another Labor backbencher, NSW north coast MP Janelle Saffin, has been a vocal opponent of the live trade since Australian cattle were cruelly treated in Indonesia last year and will raise her concerns when Federal Parliament resumes next week.
Though there is not currently enough support within Labor to ban live exports, her campaign will continue.
The Tasmanian Independent, Andrew Wilkie, also opposes the trade.
The status quo is that the remaining 11,000 sheep wait. There is a hearing to decide their fate due in a Pakistan court on or before October 17.
Protests organised by Animals Australia and other animal groups took place in all seven capital cities on Saturday October 6.
For more detail, please visit: www.animalsaustralia.org
This is a ewe living on a small farm in Australia. Her lambs always sleep on her back. As a matter of principle, the farmer does not send her animals for live export, so these sheep will never leave Australia.
Our friend Suzanne Cass reports:
“About 400 caring Tasmanians gathered at Franklin Square in Hobart today, joining a national day of outrage against Australia’s brutal live export trade. The rally sent out a powerful message to politicians that decent Australians will never vote for any who do not stand up against the live export trade, and many thousands more Australians gathered in similar protests in all the capital cities.
Organised by Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania, the rally was addressed by Denison Independent member Andrew Wilkie, Brightside’s Emma Haswell, AACT’s Neon Lang, and Suzanne Cass from the Animal Justice Party. Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne attended and her support was warmly welcomed. Andrew Wilkie said that the issue – which draws support from left and right – is bound to feature at the next Federal election.
’12 months ago, Australians hung their heads in shame and despair in the face of atrocities committed against our animals in Indonesia’, said the AJP’s Suzanne Cass. ‘Today, we came together again after another series of atrocities against our sheep in the Middle East, and the flashpoint was the horrifically suffering sheep in Pakistan, who left Australia on August 4.
The sheep in Pakistan, exported by Wellards, left the Australian winter climate, and were rejected on disease grounds by Bahrain. On the Ocean Drover, they drifted aimlessly in searing temperatures around the Middle East before a deal was done with Pakistan to unload them. They have been being brutally ‘culled’ in Pakistan, reportedly by stabbing, clubbing, and burying alive, and it is believed that 10,000 of the 21,000 landed in Pakistan remain. The disaster is reminiscent of the Cormo Express incident in 2003, when tens of thousands of the sheep on board died after being rejected by Saudi Arabia after being at sea for almost three months. The government said it would “never happen again”.
As well as animals exported for slaughter, it has come to light that animals exported for breeding purposes are terribly abused as well, and these animals are not covered by the Government’s new, but failed, regulatory system. An exposé from Qatar saw dairy and breeding cattle dying of hunger, dehydration and heat exhaustion, and thousands of cattle have been exported to Indonesia as ‘breeding’ cattle, but were slaughtered because progeny documentation was not provided. Animal advocates claim that these animals are being exported as breeding animals to go under the radar of the regulatory system, but are being slaughtered. Likewise in Egypt, thousands of cattle were rejected because they had been fed hormone growth promotants…
‘This trade has cost tens of thousands of local meat processing jobs, and benefits the very few, and those few have an extraordinary power over this pathetically weak government. Australia’s two major parties really need to understand that hundreds of thousands of decent, hardworking Australians are deeply, deeply ashamed, and they will lose those hundreds of thousands of votes in the next election. Neither of the major parties is any better than the other about this horrific animal torture’, Ms Cass concluded.”
Suzanne Cass, Animal Justice Party.
Participants from the other rallies reported:
Federal Labor backbencher Kelvin Thomson, addressing more than one thousand protesters in Melbourne, called on his government colleagues to ban live animal exports.
Patty Marks of Animal Liberation Victoria organised this protest, in which the participants carried dead animals:
” Animals are not Ours.
This protest served as a solemn memorial to honour the lives of around 100 animals. The memorial draws attention to the the suffering of animals in our society – animals who live and die in miserable conditions.
The sad and powerful visual display of these bodies is provoking debate in our community against such overwhelming violence and bloodshed. Similar displays of respect for the billions of animal victims have taken place in Spain, Chile, France, Germany, Peru and now here in Australia.
ALV believes our treatment of animals not only causes untold cruelty and suffering, but is unsustainable, an environmental catastrophe, and is one of the world’s largest social justice issues.”
Police stated 500 people gathered in central Sydney, though demonstrators estimated many more.
The Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters called on the government to back her party’s bill to ban live exports, which was greeted by cheers from the audience. Like the thousands of other people who rallied across the nation yesterday, Brisbane protesters carried a message: No Ban, No Vote.
In the port city of Fremantle in Western Australia, about 400 protesters chanted their support to end the trade.
Around 1500 demonstrated in Adelaide and were addressed by the philanthropist Phil Wollen. Please watch his video:
Latest news – extremely disturbing:
We have been informed by Suzanne Cass of the Animal Justice Party of more appalling reports from the Pakistani press:
“… that the sheep who had been ‘culled’ by stabbing, clubbing and burying alive were being dug up from trenches and sold. Many were reportedly still alive after being buried…”
QCA note: our comment has now appeared on the newspaper report above.