I am writing to update you on the campaign to ban live exports, and to ask you once again to add your voice.
This week in the Senate my urgency motion on live exports triggered a debate on two more recent failures of the government’s new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS). It is distressing to see that animal cruelty and suffering continues unabated in the live export trade. You can read the transcript of my speech.Last week ABC Lateline aired footage taken by an Animals Australia investigation which showed Australian sheep being brutally slaughtered in an illegal Kuwait market. It followed an incident where 22,000 sheep were stranded offshore in Bahrain for over a week, in sweltering summer conditions, after a harrowing 33 day voyage. Possibly 1,000 or more sheep died on the trip.
The government has agreed to investigate the regulatory breach in Kuwait exposed by Animals Australia. I called on the government to also investigate the stranding of 22,000 sheep in Bahrain, and the failure of the exporter to unload the sheep within 36 hours which involved misleading cover-ups by the Agriculture Department to protect the industry.
The government must apply the full force of the law to these serious breaches to assure the public that it is willing to confront the failures of the ESCAS regime. Since the atrocities of self-regulation were aired on Four Corners last year, the Greens have consistently argued that exporters should not be responsible for monitoring their own compliance.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie’s bill to require mandatory pre-slaughter stunning was introduced into the House of Representatives on Monday. Stunning of Australian livestock before slaughter in overseas abattoirs would be a step forward, though a loophole in the bill still allows ritual slaughter without prior stunning of the animal. The only solution to end animal cruelty is to ban live exports.
I will continue to seek to debate the Greens’ Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill 2012 in the Senate. You can keep updated about the Greens’ work on the live export trade here.
I urge you to directly lobby the Minister for Agriculture Senator Joe Ludwig and your local MPs to agree to investigate the regulatory breach of the recent stranding of 22,000 sheep in Bahrain, and the government’s handling of the incident.
It is only with your help to keep the pressure on the government that we can hope for a breakthrough for the animals.
P.S.: Thank you to everyone who supported our ban live exports postcard campaign urging the Minister to support the Greens’ bill to ban live exports. We have distributed over 10,000 postcards to our supporters, and will be delivering them to the Minister as they are returned.