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.
Media Statement: Port Action Stops Exporters
19 October 2012
Alarming photos posted online early this morning of carcasses and sheep with protruding bellies as the Bader 3 was loading in Fremantle have led to activists stopping the loading. Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren was present at Berth 1 this morning when members of the organisation Animal Rescue Team locked onto two sheep trucks.
“As one activist was removed from the ship, two more activists locked onto the under carriage of two trucks – one entering, one leaving the gates at Berth 1,” said Lynn MacLaren MLC, Greens spokesperson for animal welfare.
“At that time, there were several police on site, though I did not see an RSPCA inspector, after contacting them early in the morning.
“The Greens WA would like to see a halt to live exports, which is proven to cause suffering for millions of animals. If the regulations can be so openly flouted, confidence in the new ESCAS system has bottomed out to an all-time low.
“Why is it that the public have to jump on ships to expose these horrors when the Government continues to claim we supposedly have the best system of regulations in the world?” questioned Ms MacLaren.
“The two activists who have locked-on to the sheep trucks are calling for the sheep to be returned to the feedlot – they don’t want them to go onboard, in light of the damning evidence provided this morning. Colleagues of theirs had photographed two sheep dead on the dock,” said Ms MacLaren.
“This comes at the same time Wellard negotiated an agreement with the Federal Quarantine Department of Pakistan to process the remaining 11,500 sheep previously redirected from Bahrain to Pakistan amid evidence of extensive morbidity.
“The live export industry has learnt nothing from the scandal of the Ocean Drover. There are clearly concerns over the sheep in port now in Fremantle.
“The fate of sheep in Pakistan has taken months to resolve, from their refusal by authorities in Bahrain, the delays in finding a new export destination, the inhumane slaughter of half of them in Pakistan, to today’s agreement to slaughter the rest in Pakistan.
“Are the sheep being loaded today going to be accepted at their destination?” questioned Ms MacLaren. “There is no certainty in the system, anymore.”
Kate Bastians, The West Australian October 19, 2012, 11:11 am
Two animal activists were arrested this morning after they allegedly boarded a live export ship and took graphic pictures of sheep being dumped on to the dock at Fremantle port.
Six Animal Rescue Team activists, who had gained access to the Bader III by telling security officials they wanted to carry out an inspection, also took pictures of pregnant sheep being loaded on to the vessel.
ART spokeswoman Amy Flee claimed one of the female activists was allegedly assaulted by the ship's captain after she locked her thumb on to the ramp to prevent more sheep from being loaded.
"The captain was disgruntled and irate about the situation so he grabbed her in a choke hold and ripped her arm away, causing severe lacerations to her thumb."
Ms Flee also claims security officers from Fremantle Port dangled two activists over the side of the ship and threatened to throw them overboard.
"We are planning to make a complaint about that."
The two activists-Kate Jones, 23 and Benjamin Goran, 20-were taken to the Fremantle police station and charged with trespassing.
One of the activists remains on board after climbing into the crow's nest.
"It's really dangerous to get him down so he is still in there," Ms Flee said.
Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren called for an immediate end to all live animal exports.
"Why is it that the public have to jump on ships to expose these horrors when the Government continues to claim we supposedly have the best system of regulations in the world," Ms MacLaren said.
The ship is expected to leave tonight.
Lynn MacLaren joins activists at Fremantle port today...
The Greens WA will call for an immediate halt to all live animal exports today as pictures taken in the early hours showing dead and pregnant sheep loaded onto the Bader 3 in Fremantle Port go across the world on Facebook.”
“Why is it that the public have to jump on ships to expose these horrors when the Government continues to claim we supposedly have the best system of regulations in the world?” questioned Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren today.
Lynn MacLaren MLC will be at Berth 1 this morning supporting the activists who have brought this to worldwide attention.
LIVE animal exports will decline in coming years and in the meantime Australia should start sending carcasses overseas to avoid mistreatment of sheep and cattle, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says.
Images by K Greenfeld
Saturday October 6, (E Shed Market Location in Fremantle) over 1,000 people gathered on the docks to demonstrate their opposition to live animal exports, at one of several nation-wide rallies instigated by Animals Australia. Given the short notice and small window of planning and organising, this was a fantastic attendance.
The message was loud and clear – no ban, no vote – we will not vote for a party that supports this cruel industry (the Greens Party is the ONLY party that is committed to ending the live animal exported trade).
The rally was scheduled for 10.00 am, but organisers who had arrived at 9.00 am and early participants, many of whom had never been this close to the reality of live animal exports, had that reality thrust firmly into their consciousness as the Al Shuwaikh, docked opposite our protest point, was hustled out of port over an hour earlier than her scheduled 11.00 am departure. Obviously in this case, not all exposure is good exposure and they wanted to avoid all the media that was arriving.
As tens of thousands of faces peered out into a very alien environment, from their cramped confinement, where they would spend on average three weeks (but UP TO six weeks), Lyn MacLaren grabbed the microphone and launched into a commentary as the couple of hundred protesters already there, farewelled this ship of misery and morbidity with boos and chants. The Al Shuwaikh is bound for Kuwait, where only weeks earlier this same ship laden with 55,000 beings were delayed from unloading, contrary to our Moratorium of Understanding with that country.
The rally opened with a characteristically inspiring and heartfelt 15 minute recorded speech by Lyn White. Lyn was followed by Melissa Parke, Federal MP for the division of Fremantle – always an outspoken advocate for animal protection. Melissa was followed by the always supportive and active Lisa Baker, Labor MLA for the seat of Maylands, Grant Courtney, Federal president of the AMIEU. Crowd favourite, Lyn MacLaren, Greens MLC for the South Metropolitan region finished up, Inspiring all to believe that we CAN change things.
Channel 10, 9, 7 and the ABC covered the event, as well as various radio and print media.
There was no opposition presence (the pro-cruelty, live export supporters), police kept a watchful, eye on the rally, but maintained a respectful distance (thank you Fremantle police).
Huge thanks to everyone who took the time to join us yesterday and who continue to stand with us in this ongoing fight. Our presence and our message do not go unnoticed. Keep up the fight, keep up the pressure and keep the faith – we will end this cruel and barbaric, unsustainable, unreliable and un-Australian trade in misery.
To sum it up, Didi French posted this on the Sunday morning after the rally:
“Gosh, what an emotional Rally it was, starting off with watching that ship of death leaving the Port, absolutely gut-wrenching. Hard to keep back the tears....The energy surrounding us all was overwhelming, all sharing the same feelings of sorrow as we watched it and knowing what horrendous fate was in store for those beautiful defenceless animals on board..:((..Seeing that shocking evidence right before our eyes brought home more than ever why we need to attend these rallies to be their voice, and why we spend hours upon hours campaigning to stop live export...It was an honour to be there standing with so many compassionate, like minded kindred spirits...Thanks for all the time and effort you and everyone concerned put into organising it, Katrina..It was greatly appreciated.:-) Love to you all..xx”
Human Chain Against Live Animal Exports
The government would have us believe that the new Exporters Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) has solved all animal welfare problems associated with live exports, but with six animal welfare issues in six weeks, this has been proven to be patently untrue.
Animals exported live are still and always will be at risk.
Join hands across the Stirling Bridge, Fremantle WA to demonstrate your opposition to the live export trade.
Download a template for your 'I am ...' sign:
Photos from the 2011 Human Chain against live exports:
All photos courtesy of Houndstooth Studios