Greens Senator and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon says criticism by Australia's chief veterinary officer of restraint boxes used to slaughter cattle in Indonesia, new footage of cruelty to Australian cattle in Israel and concerns about resumption of cattle exports to Vietnam build the case for a complete ban on live exports.
"These latest revelations show that unless the government responds to public concern and puts an end to the industry the sore of live exports will continue to be reopened," Senator Rhiannon said.
"While Australian live exports are maintained the government will periodically have to defend the industry in the face of fresh evidence of animal cruelty in overseas markets.
"When live exports resume to Vietnam next week the Minister can expect a new round of criticism in light of that country's animal welfare record.
"The Minister's decision to ban 'Mark 1' restraint boxes because they contravene international standards is piecemeal reform made in the face of a damning report by the chief vet Dr Andy Carroll.
"The Minister for Agriculture Senator Joe Ludwig should show leadership and introduce legislation to ban live exports outright or forever be on the back foot.
"The major parties have shown themselves to be out of step with public opinion on live exports.
"People understand there is no way to implement safeguards that can guarantee the humane transport and slaughter of animals in overseas markets.
"It is clear from ongoing revelations that neither Meat and Livestock Australia or the government has a clear understanding of processing conditions in export markets.
"The Australian Greens will continue to push for a live export ban through the Senate inquiry due to report on 21 September 2011.
"Moving to rapidly phase out this trade is the key to protecting animal welfare and building new jobs for the Australian economy," Senator Rhiannon said.