Independent Federal MP Andrew Wilkie has re-introduced a Private Member’s Bill seeking parliamentary support to mandate the stunning of all Australian livestock slaughtered overseas.
Mr Wilkie has seized on the release of footage allegedly showing Australian sheep being slaughtered outside an Australian Government approved supply chain in Kuwait as ammunition for his continued campaign to shut down the $1 billion a year livestock export trade.
“The discovery of more cruelty to Australian livestock, this time in Kuwait, makes a mockery of the Australian Government’s supposed efforts to clean up the industry,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
“The fact clearly remains that Australia’s live animal export safeguards remain ineffective and our livestock, in particular cattle and sheep, are still being routinely abused en route to and in overseas markets.’’
Mr Wilkie introduced a similar bill last year but only succeeded in winning the support of Greens MP Adam Bandt.
In a press release announcing his decision to reintroduce a similar bill calling for mandatory stunning today, he said the Federal Government's policy of 'encouraging' stunning, instead of mandating it, left the door open for the cruellest aspect of the live export industry – unstunned slaughter – to continue unchecked.
Industry estimates suggest that more than 90pc of abattoirs that process Australian cattle in Indonesia now use pre-slaughter stunnning. Even though it is not required under the ESCAS system, the practice is being widely adopted because it not only brings animal welfare benefits but commercial advantages to abattoir owners as well, through faster, higher volume processing and better quality, higher value meat due to reduced animal stress.
Mr WIlkie said the Livestock Export (Animal Welfare Conditions) Bill 2012 introduced this morning would legislate Australian standards and mandatory stunning in foreign abattoirs that are granted permits to process Australian livestock.
The Private Member’s Bill is a replica of the one Mr Wilkie had before Parliament last year.
“It’s a sign of the Government and Opposition’s cruel disinterest in animal welfare that this Bill was allowed to drop off the notice paper,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
“But this issue will not quietly die because the sickening scenes of animal cruelty on Four Corners more than a year ago are still seared on the minds of millions of Australians who are demanding action.
“If we’re not going to stop the trade, at the very least we need to demand Australian standards be applied right along the supply chain.’’
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