The Australian Greens have today released a position paper identifying five key issues the government must address to provide a more economically robust and humane alternative to the live exports trade, in the lead up to the important last Government caucus meeting of the year where live exports has been identified as a key issue by some Labor MPs ("Greens up ante on ban of live animal exports", The Australian, today http://tiny.cc/qxemnw).
The paper can be accessed below.
Australian Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:
"The public is distressed over live export cruelty, and they want the trade to end. The government needs to respond - not with half baked inquiries, but a comprehensive plan to stop exporting livestock for consumption and process the meat in Australia.
"Minister Ludwig is in denial about the long term viability of live exports. He has to admit Australia has a problem and take action to move away from live exports.
"Growing domestic meat processing for local and export markets will reduce animal cruelty inherent in the live export trade while boosting Australia's economy and assisting farmers.
"These key issues are critical to ending the live export trade and hopefully the Labor caucus will consider them before parliament resumes.
"I have sought a meeting with the Minister to discuss our position paper and will be consulting with unions, animal welfare groups and producers to gain feedback and promote this work.
"I am particularly interested in feedback from farmers and in early 2013 I am visiting northern Australian cattle producers in Western Australia as part of this process.
Growing Australia's meat processing as an alternative to live exports
Summary - The Australian Greens' 5 key issues the government must address to end live exports and build domestic meat processing
1. Encourage the development of new meat processing facilities in northern Australia
The Government, working with industry, should provide incentives to help open abattoirs in northern Australia, in a staged fashion, to assist producers to grow domestic processing.
2. Remove trade distortions and more vigorously market Australian meat overseas
The government, working with industry, should actively lobby for an end to subsidies and tariffs which favour the live export trade and put more resources into promoting the boxed meat trade.
3. Boost skills and educate workers
The government, working with industry and unions, should provide assistance to help attract and train Indigenous and other meat processing workers to serve a new, strong domestic meat processing industry.
4. Smooth the transition for farmers and the meat processing sector
The Government, working with industry, should work with farmers and investors to ensure a smooth and successful transition away from live exports.
5. Establish teams to drive reform within government
Establish new divisions within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Austrade responsible for growing domestic processing and building meat markets overseas and set up an independent Office of Animal Welfare.