Bishop Trots Out Party Line
Thank you for taking the trouble to reply to my cri-de-coeur which stems from my firsthand experience of seeing animals in the Middle East being appallingly treated.
I appreciate the economic argument of keeping the trade going and if the trade were to cease, plainly it would need to be phased out, with financial provisions for those who would suffer. However, I completely reject your point about ‘if we aren’t in the trade, other countries would be’. The issue is that as a modern progressive nation we should have no part in a trade that remains barbaric however many standards are set. A simple example: have YOU ever sailed up the Red Sea with a following wind? You’d want to die! We just should not impose conditions on livestock that are totally inimical to their wellbeing.
Australian abattoirs would provide employment and enhance country populations…and the processed meat could be sold all over the world including the Middle East. Just ask the New Zealanders.
I hope, sooner rather than later, there will be a re-think of both the Government’s and the Opposition’s positions on this matter. It took decades for the Slave Trade to be phased out and the same sort of economics-based arguments were used then – but attitudes changed, so those of us urging a rethink must hang on in there.
Thank you for your email regarding live exports.
I share your deep concern over the footage of inhumane treatment of animals portrayed in live export markets. The Coalition consequently supports the suspension of trade of live animal exports to facilities that fail to operate at a standard that we, as Australians, would expect.
The issue of live animal exports has divided community opinion, with the industry an important means of livelihood for many people in rural Australia. However, we are disappointed that a delayed response from the Gillard Government on this issue resulted in tens of thousands of head of cattle being stranded in Northern Australia. This forced cattle producers and exporters into limbo and threatened in excess of 13,000 Australian jobs.
If Australia were to permanently ban live exports, animals would be sourced from other countries which neither impose our high domestic standards, nor work closely with destination countries to implement higher standards.
Banning live exports would result in over hundreds of thousands cattle and sheep being stranded at properties in Northern Australia. There are few alternatives for pastoralists to deal with this over-supply as Southern markets are distant and past attempts to establish abattoirs in the North have failed due to the short operational periods, the wet season conditions and the lack of available or affordable fodder.
It should be noted that in relation to animal welfare standards overseas, of the 109 countries that export live animals Australia is the only country that significantly invests in animal welfare in destination countries.
The Coalition will continue to pursue the Government to ensure that matters arising in the live export market are properly investigated and corrective action and compliance applied where required.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.
The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
Shadow Minister for Trade
Canberra: 02 6277 2102
Perth: 08 9388 0288
PLEASE do something to convince your party that this modern equivalent of the Slave Trade must be phased out.