The Greens established in Senate Estimates today that Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, on his industry trip to the Middle East to monitor new ESCAS regulations governing live exports, took no animal welfare experts despite acknowledging that the scheme is about improving animal welfare outcomes.
"Failing to take animal welfare experts on this trip is akin to forgetting to bring food inspectors to a restaurant when safety standards are being audited," Senator Rhiannon said.
The Minister revealed he visited two abattoirs and three feedlots in Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait. In one abattoir he observed the slaughtering of one goat and one sheep but no cattle.
"Mr Ludwig refused to describe today what he observed of the slaughter in the abattoir, or the restraint methods, but did admit that the animals were not stunned before slaughter.
"The Minister said he would take on notice questions about his visit, despite the fact he was in the Middle East only last month.
"It is clear that despite the depth of community concern about the welfare of animals subject to live export, the government is continuing to kowtow to the industry and minimise concerns about cruel treatment," Senator Rhiannon said.