While Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is tipped to survive a move by the Australian Beef Association to abolish the body at MLA's AGM today, the MLA has effectively lost the confidence of the industry, and the Agriculture Minister Jo Ludwig should recognise that industry self-regulation has failed when it comes to live exports, says Greens Senator and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon ("Producers call for MLA to be wound up".)
"Continuing to give the MLA the $5 a head cattle slaughter levy is like giving milk money to a child who'd rather spend it on lollies," Senator Rhiannon said.
"A spokesperson for Senator Ludwig told ABC radio today that any restructure is a matter for industry, but he can no longer abdicate responsibility when industry and the public are so dissatisfied with the MLA's performance.
"The MLA is a dead man walking. Despite reaping over $100 million a year from cattle sales and matched public funding for research the body has failed its job to protect animals involved in Australia's live exports trade.
"While it's estimated the MLA spends $185,000 per annum on improving welfare standards the Four Corners report made clear that there is little to show for it.
"Proper regulation and accountability in the live animal exports industry is long overdue.
"Reports yesterday that more than 500 sheep died from starvation and infections during the disrupted voyage of the Al Messilah ship to the Middle East reminds us why.
"The government should take control of the MLA's research and animal welfare functions.
"The Greens will continue the campaign to ban all live exports. The soon to be tabled Senate inquiry report is a good opportunity to end this trade once and for all," Senator Rhiannon said.