Hopefully the four corners effect will spread to other animals and also cause an examination of Australian slaughter practices.
Prime Minister responds to community outrage
Last week we asked you for help to get justice for Bill, a beautiful Australian steer that met a terrifying and gruesome end in an Indonesian slaughterhouse after being supplied to that country by our live export industry. Last night - with your help, justice was done.
The Prime Minister has answered the calls of hundreds of thousands of Australians and suspended all cattle exports to Indonesia.
Today, the Prime Minister has heard the voices of Bill, Brian, Arthur, Dudley, Tommy and the 6.4 million animals sent to Indonesia before them.
Following an unprecedented outcry by the Australian community, the Government has been forced to act following revelations of terrible cruelty to Australian cattle in slaughterhouses in Indonesia shown on ABC’s Four Corners. Over the past week, more than 100,000 people have written to the Prime Minister, 320,000 have signed a petition to halt the trade to Indonesia and tens of thousands of others have contacted their local members of Parliament and Senators and spoken out on social media and traditional media. It is already being described as a "win for people power".
The real win is for Australian cattle, that because of the support of the community and the media, will no longer face a cruel and brutal death in Indonesian slaughterhouses.
The collaboration of RSPCA Australia with Animals Australia, with support from GetUp! and their members, together with a growing group of politicians who spoke up against this cruelty has delivered this great result.
While we all certainly need to celebrate this success, our work is not done.
We will be looking closely at the terms of this suspension and work to close any loopholes. And we can't forget that over 3 million sheep and around 135,000 cattle will go to the Middle East this year and most will also face inhumane handling and slaughter.
We will need the help of the community again to ensure the Gillard Government hears their voice and ends the live export trade once and for all.
Outrage grows on ritual killing
June 26, 2011/Sunday AGE
Four Victorian abbatoirs have a similar "approved arrangement". Photo: Bloomberg
THE head of the meat industry has joined animal welfare groups in opposing the religious slaughter of sheep while they are conscious, amid calls to ban the ''unnecessary and unconscionable'' practice in Australia.
At least 15 Australian abattoirs - including four in Victoria - have government approval to slit sheep's throats without stunning them for local and international halal (Muslim) and kosher (Jewish) markets.
A leading Jewish identity told The Sunday Age that about 500 sheep are killed by the kosher method in Victoria each week.
Studies into unstunned slaughter, including by the federal Department of Agriculture, have found the practice causes pain, distress, terror and panic in animals. Most sheep remained conscious for up to 20 seconds after their throats were cut.
One major abattoir, which had exported unstunned slaughtered sheep to the Middle East, said it stopped the practice due to animal welfare concerns.
Separately, the RSPCA and Animals Australia criticised the absence of mandatory stunning in the Gillard government's proposal to Indonesia last week outlining slaughter standards to reopen the live cattle export trade.
Australian Meat Industry Council chairman Terry Nolan said it was in the local industry's ''best interests to have the most humane treatment of animals''.
''I personally don't believe in unstunned slaughter. I kill animals for a living … I believe that they need to be processed in the most respectful way for the animals,'' he said.
Government-approved ritual slaughter of conscious sheep accounted for an ''extreme minority'' of animal deaths, representing less than 1 per cent of the meat industry locally, he said.
Australian standards require livestock be rendered unconscious and insensible to pain before slaughter. Limited exceptions for cattle - broadly accepted by Muslim and Jewish groups - permit stunning with a captive-bolt pistol immediately after the throat is cut.
But about 15 Australian abattoirs that service the domestic halal and kosher meat market reportedly have state government approval to slaughter sheep without stunning at any stage. ...... <cont>
Uncertainty after live export ban lifted
Updated Thu Jul 7, 2011 10:17am AEST
The Federal Government has lifted the ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia, but it cannot say when shipments will resume.
The industry will now be able to apply for new export orders if it can prove animal welfare standards will be met in the Indonesian abattoirs which are slaughtering Australian cattle. ...<cont>
Labor MPs break ranks over cattle stunning
Updated Thu Jul 7, 2011 8:53pm AEST
The Government is being challenged to toughen up cattle slaughter standards. (Kate Lamb)
Nine Federal Labor MPs have signed a statement expressing concern about the Government's resumption of live cattle exports to Indonesia.
They are calling on the industry to demand all stock sent to Indonesia be stunned before they are killed.
Many in the cattle industry have applauded the decision to lift the export ban, but the Government is being challenged by animal welfare advocates and crossbenchers in the Federal Parliament to toughen up cattle slaughter standards.
Last night Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig lifted the month-long ban and said safeguards were now in place to ensure the welfare of cattle processed in Indonesian abattoirs was protected.
But a spokesman for the Minister says given the size and nature of the industry, there will always be examples of systems breaking down in Australia or elsewhere.
Many Labor MPs are unhappy with Senator Ludwig's decision to reopen the trade based on international animal welfare standards, which do not mandate the use of stunning before the cattle are killed.
They are also miffed MPs in the Caucus working group, set up to examine the issue, were not told the export suspension would be lifted.
Backbencher Kelvin Thomson is one of nine MPs who have issued a statement expressing their concerns, demanding a "no stun, no deal" policy.
He says the main problem is that the international guidelines do not ensure cattle are stunned before they are killed.
"There are some serious questions concerning this matter that we will aim to resolve within the Government," he said.
"The first concerns the issue of stunning - the simplest and most effective way is to stun them before slaughter."
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says the Government has not fixed the problem, a sentiment echoed by animal welfare groups and independent MPs Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon.
The two independents want Prime Minister Julia Gillard to allow MPs a conscience vote on their bill to wind up the trade within three years and in the meantime make stunning a requirement of live exports.
There has been no response from the Prime Minister's office. ...<cont>
Animals Australia releases new footage in anti-live exports campaign
August 18, 2011 12:18PM
A screengrab of the new footage released by Animals Australia. Source: Supplied
GRAPHIC new footage of animals being slaughtered inhumanely in Turkey has been released by Animals Australia as it continues to campaign against live exports.
The horrific images are likely to put more pressure on the Labor Government to address welfare standards for live exports, after allowing the trade to Indonesia to re-open.
The footage shows cattle strung up by one leg and their necks hacked, without being stunned.
It also shows sheep flailing on hooks as they are strung up for slaughter, and other animals being butchered against international slaughter standards.
Footage shot by Animals Australia in Indonesia and aired on the ABC earlier this year led to the Government halting the live export trade to Indonesia after widespread community outrage.
The new video has come to light as Private Members Bills presented to Parliament by Greens MP Adam Bandt and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie – both calling for an end to live animal exports – failed to get support from other MPs.
No Labor MPs crossed the floor in support despite some backbenchers hitting out at the live export standards earlier this year.
Animals Australia spokeswoman Lyn White was present during the filming of the Turkey footage and said the trade must end.
Ms White said it was not clear that the animals butchered in the footage were Australian, but it shows routine practices so all animals were at risk.
"This is a relatively new market, we are sending about half a million animals to this market,'' she said.
"This is a cruel and immoral trade and it should end.''
Mr Wilkie said he would soon present another Bill to Parliament that would force all export markets to meet animal welfare standards including stunning.
He said Australia had a responsibility to ensure the welfare of animals it shipped to other countries.
Beef export bills defeated as new vision surfaces
Updated August 18, 2011 14:49:05
Photo: The latest vision comes soon after a ban on live exports to Indonesia was lifted. (ABC News, file photo)
Animals Australia has stepped up its campaign for a ban on live animal exports by producing new footage of animals being slaughtered in Turkey.
The latest vision comes just months after footage of cattle being mistreated in Indonesia prompted the Federal Government to temporarily ban live exports to that country.
The Government says the new footage has been referred to an independent inquiry into Australia's live export industry.
It comes as federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie criticised the Government and Opposition for voting against two bills that would have banned the live animal export trade.
Legislation put forward by Mr Wilkie required a three-year phase-out of the practice and a Greens' bill would have immediately banned live exports. Both bills were defeated.
Mr Wilkie says he is now working on a new bill that will demand export countries meet Australian slaughter standards, including the use of stunning.
"The live animal export trade or system is clearly broken, it's clearly unethical, it's clearly not in Australia's economic interest and we have to do something about it," he said.
"This is not the end of the matter as far as I'm concerned."
Speaking before the vote, Greens MP Adam Bandt said Labor and the Coalition were voting together without offering their own solution to making sure animals were slaughtered humanely.
"Not only are they continuing an unethical and unsustainable practice, but they are thumbing their nose at public opinion," he said.
"Every opinion poll and I think every member of this Parliament would agree that the strong outpouring of public support has been in ending live exports."
The forgotten animals of live export
Australian dairy cattle have been found perishing on a property in Qatar. They are among thousands of dairy and breeding animals shipped all over the world and totally overlooked by new live export rules. ....
Our sheep clubbed, stabbed, buried alive: Pakistan report
September 27, 2012 - 3:06PM
regional affairs correspondent/the AGE
Australian sheep exported to Pakistan Photo: AFP
Australian sheep have been clubbed, stabbed and buried alive during a brutal culling of animals in Pakistan, according to Pakistan media reports that have sparked fresh calls for the trade to be outlawed.
The International News report says a video has emerged showing sheep being killed in a brutal and inhumane way and exporter Wellard has confirmed sheep have been killed in an unacceptable manner.
The report by M Waqar Bhatti begins:
'Like a giant mass of wool, bloodied and filthy, they lay in trenches – slit open, stabbed or clubbed to death, while many still wriggled with some life left in them, soon to be buried alive.
This was the horrific and brutal fate that the Australian sheep, which provincial authorities had claimed were diseased, met after their culling was ordered.'
The sheep arrived in Karachi earlier this month, after been given a clean bill of health by Australian and Pakistan officials. They had been stranded at sea for two weeks after Bahrain rejected them because some had the common scabby mouth disease.
Despite Pakistan government officials saying the animals were healthy, local authorities said they were unfit for human consumption, claiming the animals had salmonella and anthrax and that the 20,000 sheep must be culled, with a court injunction halting the culling, but up to 7000 have been killed.
The International News report says: "Video footage of the mass execution, obtained by The News, reveals that the sheep were disposed of in a shockingly brutal and unethical manner. Many of them were still alive when they were thrown into trenches dug at the importer's farmhouse in Razzaqabad.
"The video shows the executioners slitting the animals' throats or callously stabbing or clubbing them.
"The people killing the animals or throwing them into the trenches were not wearing any protective gear whatsoever, even though the animals were being culled on the basis that they were suffering from a 'contagious disease'."
Wellard confirmed animals had been killed in ways beyond the new strict new animal welfare standards.
"We are concerned by the Sindh Livestock Department slaughter method because it is inconsistent with Wellard's animal welfare ethos and our multimillion-dollar annual investment in improving animal welfare. Because they had been removed from the site by police, Wellard and PK Livestock staff were unable to prevent the cull from occurring," a spokesman said. ...<cont>
Updated Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:02pm AEST
Australia's live sheep trade to the Middle East is set to resume.
Farmers have been told ships will start loading live sheep this week. (AFP: Miguel Rojo, file photo)
The Federal Agriculture Department has granted three companies permits to export about 190,000 sheep and 400 cattle.
It recently suspended licences following problems with a shipment of sheep to Bahrain and Pakistan.
Bahrain rejected the 21,000 sheep, claiming some had scabby mouth and Pakistan accepted them before later claiming they were diseased.
More than 1,000 of the animals were destroyed before an independent veterinarian declared the animals free from infectious diseases and said they could be slaughtered for meat production.
The shipment was exported by the Fremantle-based Wellard company.
The agriculture department says it has imposed additional animal health and welfare requirements on exporters.
It says they must now have contingency plans if a shipment is delayed or refused entry, and carry extra feed and water.
Wellard rural exports managing director, Mauro Balzarini, says they will comply with the new conditions.
"Some of the conditions are commercial and are between us and the department," he said.
"There are some extra checks they want to do on the animals, it's a bit of risk management but nothing impossible to comply with."
The WA Livestock Exporters Association chairman John Edwards has also welcomed the move.
"The approvals are very, very good news for for our producers and exporters and everyone else," he said.
"We just need to get the business up and running again, and get trade moving because we have a backlog of animals out there that are ready for shipment and that is what the industry needs to concentrate on now."
Sheep farmer Bob Iffla, from Newdegate south-east of Perth, says the resumption is good news.
"We've just been given notification that the ships start loading this week again, so that's really great news," he said.
"I was told by my agent we need to get our sheep in by Wednesday and they'll be loaded Thursday to go to Perth."
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has declared the live export industry rules are working despite the brutal deaths of thousands of Australian sheep in Pakistan.
......The Government has asked the regulator, its own Agriculture Department, to carry out an investigation into what happened to the shipment of sheep.
....."This is an appalling circumstance," he told ABC Radio's AM program.
"I completely agree that it's one of those areas where, in this instance, the exporter has lost control of their sheep into one particular market, Pakistan.
"Where there's an appalling circumstance like this, the regulator can investigate that (and) hold the exporter to account.
"But it doesn't mean we have to stop the trade to Indonesia, it doesn't mean we have to stop the trade to the Middle East.
"Those markets continue to be very good markets."......
.....Despite the Minister's reassurances, the Government is again facing growing pressure from animal rights activists and from some Labor backbenchers to end the live animal export trade.
Labor MP Melissa Parke, who represents the West Australian seat of Fremantle where many animals are loaded onto ships, has contradicted the Minister's assertions that the existing rules are working.
She is urging Senator Ludwig to ban the trade.
"Once you send the animals overseas you lose control of the environment," Ms Parke told ABC radio.
"And what we've seen time after time is terrible things happening to Australian animals.
"We can't continue to allow this to go on." .....