The Australian Greens have dismissed Agricultural Minister Joe Ludwig's claim that 99.9 per cent of live export animals are not maltreated as 'top spin' and urged him to focus on building Australia's meat processing industry in exporting chilled and frozen meat.
"Minister Ludwig's claims he has 'control' of the live export chain but he clearly does not and cannot, like a parent could not care or control their young child sent to the other side of the world," animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
"Organisations like Animals Australia are doing the job of government in monitoring animal welfare. Without them what's happening on ships and abattoirs is out of sight, out of mind.
"The light is dimming on the live export industry, with volatile and declining markets. The Gillard government is failing farmers and rural economies in doggedly backing this part of the market.
"Just for starters, Australia's largest market for live cattle Indonesia aims to achieve beef self-sufficiency by 2014.
"The solution is to build a strong domestic meat processing sector to enable a move away from live exports, reduce animal cruelty and grow jobs. Opening new abattoirs and skilling workers is just part of this task.
"New Zealand has ended live exports and Australia can too.
"The government has promised another investigation into animal cruelty in the Egyptian abattoirs, just like it did after the Pakistan scandal. Six months later the public is yet to see a report.
"The Greens have a bill to end live exports a five point transition plan. In the remaining parliamentary weeks we will bring on an urgent debate on the need to transition from live exports and establish an overdue independent Office of Animal Welfare as promised by Labor," Senator Rhiannon said.
Greens 5 point plan: 'Growing Australia's meat processing as an alternative to live exports'.
Attached: audio from Lee Rhiannon's press conference.