The animal rights group behind the Indonesian abattoir footage that triggrered the closure of Australia's major live export market for 10 weeks claims to have footage showing slaughter practices in abattoirs in Turkey.
Animal Australia says its investigators recently completed an "initial assessment" of slaughter practices in Turkey to provide information about welfare issues in the market to the two live export inquiries currently underway.
"The need for this investigation became clear when Meat and LIvestock Australia admitted they had little knowledge of the distribution networks or routine handling and slaughter practices in Turkey," the organisation said.
The group has provided no explanation of what the footage shows.
It says it plans to brief the office of Australian Agriculture minister Senator Joe Ludwig on the footage today, and will also provide more comprehensive information to the Farmer Review and to the Senate comittee investigating animal welfare in live exports, which meets in Canberra today.
The group said its investigators were not able to confirm that animals documented in the footage were Australian – "only that Australian animals are handled and slaughtered at these facilities".
Despite declaring that it would provide comprehensive information to two public inquiries, Animals Australia said that it "had no plans to make the investigation public".
The group said it had contacted the minister's office when it returned from Turkey to inform it of the footage and to arrange a brieing for today.
Senator Ludwig released a statement last night to advise that he had been informed that Animals Australia claimed to have more footage, but he would not comment further until he had viewed it.
He pointed to the independent review that is underway into all of Australia’s live export markets, the Farmer Review, which is due to report by 31 August 2011.
The terms of reference for the independent review include:
- The consideration of facilities, treatment, handling and slaughter of livestock exported from Australia;
- The preparation and export of livestock including responsibility for compliance and enforcement of relevant standards;
- and the adequacy and effectiveness of current Australian regulatory arrangements for the live export trade.
"This review will help inform a new regulatory framework for Australia’s live export trade," Mr Ludwig said.
"The Australian Government has been actively engaged with our trading partners about this reform process.
"This footage will be considered as part of the development of this framework."