The live export debate has been reignited and calls made for the cancellation of an exporter’s licence following the emergence of more footage showing Australian livestock being mistreated overseas.
After releasing controversial video of Australian sheep being slaughtered in Jordan last month, Animals Australia has revealed breaches of live export regulations in Mauritius.
The animals welfare group’s investigators filmed Australian bulls being roughly dragged on and off trucks by ropes, falling onto concrete, collapsing, and being tightly restrained and slaughtered in backyards during the Festival of Sacrifice.
As the Department of Agriculture investigates the matter, there have been calls for the exporter International Livestock Exports – which is under investigation for similar breaches in Kuwait in January – to be stripped of its licence.
Victorian MP Kelvin Thompson, who is in favour of replacing live exports with a chilled meat export industry, says the matter required a tough response from the federal government.
“The Department of Agriculture must either cancel or suspend the export licences of the exporter involved,” Mr Thompson said.
“Only real penalties, not Mickey Mouse ones, will act as a deterrent against these practices.
“It has the power to take the export license off this exporter and it should use it.”
RSPCA Australia also called for immediate action, saying the federal government’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS), brought in after the Indonesian abattoir scandal in 2011, had again failed.
“These breaches are making a mockery of the system and its regulator, the Department of Agriculture, which has yet to take action to penalise exporters who fail to comply,” RSPCA Australia’s chief scientist Bidda Jones said.
Dr Jones said it was shocking the federal government announced on Friday it would scrap the Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, which advises Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce and drives the implementation of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy.
“What will happen to the strategy and, importantly, where does this leave the Australian government’s commitment to improve the welfare of animals?”