New revelations of live export brutality seen in Four Corners 'Another Bloody Business' should be a wake-up call to the Labor government to quickly transition away from the live export industry and grow domestic meat processing, says Australian Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon and Gran Courtney from the Meat Workers Union.
The Australian Greens have a bill to ban live exports currently being debated in federal parliament.
Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said:
"Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has become increasing unbelievable in his defence of the live export trade and the new regulatory scheme which is failing to address animal welfare concerns.
"It's time the major parties backed the Greens bill to ban live exports, imposed strong sanctions against the exporter Wellard and transitioned to a strong local meat processing sector for domestic and overseas markets.
"Australian regulations administered from a desk in Canberra have no currency in Pakistan. The strength of ESCAS is as a media management tool, not a system that will guarantee animal welfare.
"Australians have been shown more shocking images of livestock brutalised in some of the worst images of animal cruelty seen on our television to date.
"To see healthy sheep loaded from Fremantle that end up battered, abused and in many cases buried alive is awful. It must be heartbreaking for the farmers who have proudly bred and raised these animals.
"Last week in Senate Estimates the Agriculture Department admitted in response to my questioning they had only just started the internal investigation into the fate of these sheep, one month after Minister Ludwig announced this inquiry.
"The Labor government has always known it cannot enforce animal welfare standards overseas. Now with this latest exposure of the government's failure they have admitted that the brutality we saw again on Four Corners could occur in any country that takes our live animal exports," Senator Rhiannon said.
Newcastle & Northern Branch Secretary of the AMIEU Grant Courtney said:
"Last night's Four Corners program highlighted again why the live export trade must end.
"Over the last three decades 150 meat processing plants have closed and 40,000 meat worker jobs have been lost.
"Enough is enough. Australia needs to transition away from live exports as soon as possible and support the local meat processing sector.