Coalition and Labor Senators have combined to prevent the Greens spokesperson for animal welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon from speaking in reply to her motion to strengthen welfare regulation for live exports to Egypt.
After outlining why they supported the resumption of the Egypt live export trade, Labor and the Coalition Senators supported a gag motion to shut down all further debate.
“The Greens disallowance motion would have blocked The Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Export of Live-stock to Egypt) Repeal Order 2014 which removes our ability to track the animals through the export chain to ensure that they are being treated within any standard of welfare,” said Senator Rhiannon.
“This tracking ability has actually been one of the ways that Animals Australia has been able to reveal the failure of the ESCAS. So it is not hard to see why Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce wants this weakened.
“In putting forward this regulation, Minister Joyce is attempting to reduce scrutiny and assist cover-ups of animal cruelty.
“The motion would have prevented the resumption of sheep exports to Egypt. Live exports of sheep and cattle was stopped in 2006 as a result of Animals Australia exposing terrified cattle having their tendons slashed and eyes stabbed in an Egyptian abattoir.
“Live export of cattle soon resumed, supposedly under strict new regulations. The industry however has failed to prevent the brutality inflicted upon cattle in Egypt, which is regularly exposed by groups like Animals Australia.
“A responsible government would be working with farmers to expand the processed meat trade in Australia. This is how farmers can have certainty that there is a future for their farms and communities.
“Opening up abattoirs across regional Australia would create 1000s of jobs and help secure Australia a stronger place in the expanding international trade in processed meat.
“This Repeal Order along with Mr Joyce’s ‘ag-gag’ laws shows that the Abbott Government is on the war path with animal welfare,” Senator Rhiannon said.