Statement from Senator John Faulkner on live animal exports
29 February 2012
I am certainly aware of the continuing level of concern in the community about animal welfare abuses in relation to live cattle exports to countries in Asia and the Middle East.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has been provided with a copy of the footage recently aired on television depicting the mistreatment of cattle in foreign abattoirs.
The regulatory system currently in place requires the Government to undertake a thorough investigation of any allegations of mistreatment. As a result, an investigation is now underway into these recent concerns.
If it is determined that there have been breaches of an exporter’s obligations, they will be dealt with accordingly. Compliance action for a breach of export control orders ranges from monetary fines through to the cancellation of an export licence.
In response to the matters originally raised on the ABC’s Four Corners’ program in May 2011, the Government immediately announced a number of measures to address animal welfare concerns, including the suspension of live animal exports to the Indonesian facilities identified in evidence provided by the RSPCA and Animals Australia, with a commitment to add, if required, any additional facilities to those already banned.
On 6 July 2011, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, issued revised export control orders to allow the export of live cattle only where animals can be managed through supply chains that meet agreed international standards.
As a result, permits will only be issued to those exporters who can demonstrate that they meet the new orders, with exporters required to trace cattle from properties, onto vessels, into feedlots and into abattoirs that comply with international standards. This process must be verified by commercial independent auditors on a regular basis.
The Government maintains its support for a viable live animal export trade with appropriate animal welfare protections; although, I do acknowledge the strong opposition to any live animal exports as expressed to me over recent months, notwithstanding these compliance standards.