Three bills have been introduced to Federal Parliament by crossbenchers calling for permanent bans on live animal exports from Australia.
In the House of Representatives last night independent MP Andrew Wilkie from Tasmania introduced the Live Animal Export Restriction and Prohibition Bill 2011 pushing for the total and unconditional ban on the export of livestock for slaughter by July 1, 2014.
Greens MP Adam Bandt followed by introducing the Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill 2011 calling for all live exports to end immediately.
In the upper house, Independent senator Nick Xenophon yesterday introduced a Bill to end all live animal exports within three years.
Under Senator Xenophon’s bill, all live animal exports would end from July 1, 2014, and until then animals could only be exported to countries that use stunning and appropriate restraints in the slaughter process.
Senator Xenophon said the reason for the three year time-frame was to give the cattle industry adequate time to transition to chilled meat exports.
He said that until abattoirs were re-opened in the north, affected producers should be given subsidies to transport their cattle to southern and eastern abattoirs.
All three bills would require the support of either the Government or the Opposition, and support for the bills is considered unlikely given that both the Government and Opposition have indicated their support for the ongoing continuation of the live export trade.
According to Sky News Mr Wilkie told parliament last night that a permanent ban would have only a marginal effect on the wider beef industry, and he said arguments against shutting it down permanently were “baseless”.
He described Meat and Livestock Australia as an “irresponsible, incompetent, dishonest and uncaring bunch of cowboys.”
Animal rights activitists yesterday stepped up their campaign to force the Government to end live exports by re-releasing footage taken of Australian sheep being mistreated in Kuwait last year.
Meanwhile, Senator Joe Ludwig described yesterday’s meetings with Indonesian Government officials as “constructive”, but conceded that Australia cannot force Indonesia to adopt mandatory stunning throughout its abattoir industry.
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