Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor – Live export for a better world

Beef Central, 05/06/2015

French economist Frederic Bastait (1850) famously said that ‘ if goods don’t cross borders then soldiers will’, advocating the tremendous benefits of free trade, suggesting demolishment of all forms of protectionism and Government subsidy.

He encouraged leaders to consider every aspect of any Govt trade decision, always with the ‘ whole picture’ in mind.

Our live export industry represents much more than just the ferrying of live animals to hungry markets. The ‘whole picture’ presents remarkable opportunities to build long term relationships with countries who would otherwise have very little to do with us, bringing greater understanding of cultural differences and the chance to build friendships and peace.

Behind the scenes of live export, for many years, Australian scientists and researchers, vets, business people, and Government representatives have been quietly working in these markets, promoting better ways to farm and handle animals, increasing living standards and diets of people, all only possible by live export. Who would replace this tremendous community service if live export ceased?

There is no doubt that this trade is making a better world, not to say it is a perfect system, as improvement is needed in how we react to animal welfare problems within the trade. All those who wish to see better ways to improve welfare must work together. Non Government Organisations ( rights groups ) have a right to expose isolated issues of cruelty, indeed, we should welcome their help to improve our trade’s ‘bigger picture’.

Aussie Ag products are in the international spotlight, simply because we are a leading and influential export nation, with unbeatable quality and service. Opening our doors, being transparent, welcoming our critics, endeavouring to work with them will only grow our reputation and ability to deal with industry issues. Overseas markets will love this approach. Bashing the messengers of poor animal practice is not a sensible approach.

Our live export trade supports many thousands of Australian businesses, while feeding millions of people every year. Its worth defending, improving and preserving.



Charles (Chick) Olsson





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  1. Julie Castle, 11/06/2015

    great article Chick. Keep up the good work.

  2. Geoffrey Beere, 06/06/2015

    Frederic Bastait is a very good reason for a timely letter to the editor. Geoffrey Beere Bursa Turkey

  3. Eddie Johns, 06/06/2015

    Those that recognise and appreciate the importance of the live export trade both here in Australia and abroad would concur with Chick Olssen’s comments. I would also like to add that the Australian Livestock Export Industry has for decades been helping to improve animal welfare in overseas markets for all livestock, not just those of Australian origin.

    The Industry has ‘skin in the game’, regrettably we cant say the same for our detractors who collect enormous amounts of money from public donations, and some even from State Governments but sadly not one dollar of theirs is spent on helping to improve welfare outcomes internationally. Seems to me they don’t care about animals overseas.

    Any attempts by Industry to develop a collaborative approach with its critics over the years have left the trade burnt and today there is no goodwill. One needs to ask why it even attempts to work with the activist groups when their agenda is solely to the shut the live export trade down and this will never change.

    The coffers of groups like Animals Australia depend heavily on sensationalism driven by advertising campaigns and flashy websites to denigrate live exports when in reality their monies could be far better spent addressing welfare improvements for local animals in overseas markets. These people obviously cant rationalize the fact that daily wages in some countries are as little as a dollar a day and when cartridges to operate hand held livestock stunners may cost as much as 50 cents, then of course the locals will look for other ways to stun their own animals, inappropriate as they maybe. For generations that have known no better but Australian exporters for every new market they enter are helping to change all of this and should be commended for their efforts.

    As they say…put your money where your mouth is for those that think Industry is not being proactive overseas.

  4. Jim Shelton, 05/06/2015

    A sound and balanced assessment of the live animal export trade

  5. donald brown, 05/06/2015

    well said Chick

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