Promoting understanding
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Live export trade … to death

Posted in: Di's diary5 Comments

Maybe I am getting prematurely excited but there is a glimmer of hope for one area of animal welfare that for too long has been ignored. The live export trade is a term that most people are familiar with but sadly know little about. It involves the transportation of millions of sheep, and thousands of cattle each year to countries where there are no laws to protect them from brutal acts of cruelty and horrific methods of slaughter.

The ones that die on the journey are perhaps the lucky ones. They die as a result of an inability to eat (they are unaccustomed to the dry pelleted food they receive on the ship, eating only grass beforehand) as well as trauma and salmonellosis. Those that survive are dragged, stuffed into car boots, chained to the roof of cars til they reach their destination and then slaughtered by untrained neanderthals, intent on proving their manhood to their family and friends. Others go to abattoirs, where, as I said no code of animal welfare exists and the outcomes are much the same. They are slaughtered by cutting of their throats with no pre-stunning . As Animals Australia has repeated shown in their videos that is often a prolonged and agonising death with sometimes 3, 4 or up to 12 slashes before the job is done.

This trade has been going on for at least thirty years (I remember studying its economic contribution as part of my agriculture degree in 1984) For most of that time we have done what the government and the Live Export trade has wanted us to do – remain blissfully unaware and ignorant. We disassociate ourselves from the brutality and violence by the excuse it brings millions of dollars into our economy each year. Any opposition has been quickly squashed with vicious propaganda campaigns accusing the activists of being radical extremists intent on destroying our quality of life – thus segmenting them from “rational and reasonable” Australians. We condemn these countries for their poor human rights records yet willingly send them our animals to do what they want with.

However things started to change in 2005 with an expose by Animals Australia into the treatment of Australian animals in Egypt. Live export to this country was temporarily suspended but continued to other Middle Eastern countries. Early this year Animals Australia again provided shocking footage of the horrifying “festival of slaughter” and the general public were outraged, responding with a flood of emails and petitions to end this horrendous trade. The Australian government did nothing, in fact Senator Joe Ludwig, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry responded by supporting an increase in the trade particularly to Indonesia.

Now on Monday night his actions have come back to haunt him. Footage from Indonesia, again from Animals Australia, apparently showing even more horrifying scenes than those filmed in Egypt will be aired on Four Corners. The Live Trade has rightly gone on the defensive, immediately suspending shipments to three Indonesian abattoirs in an attempt to head of criticism and backlash (or at least until that backlash dies down). They fail to advertise the fact that they are still exporting to over a hundred other abattoirs in Indonesia (just not the three worst ones). How comforting!

The most common excuse used to defend the trade (apart from the economic benefits) is that these countries lack the refrigeration facilities needed to handle chilled meat. Most of the Middle Eastern countries are affluent beyond belief. They persist with the import of animals because of social and cultural preferences. But if given no option they have to accept chilled meat. They do not have the land or the climate to raise their own stock. Other countries including New Zealand have suspended their live export trade replacing it with chilled meat. Yet the Australian government lacks the balls to enforce this option, despite the fact that there are over 40 halal accredited abattoirs in the country.

So I urge you to watch Four Corners on Monday night and make up your own mind. I know it will be heartbreaking and distressing but we have the option to turn it off or ignore it, the animals do not. They have no hope, no salvation and are shown no mercy.

And if you would like to be a voice for these defenceless creatures who have no voice, you can email Joe Ludwig – AND CC:

What do you think? Are these countries worthy custodians of our animals?

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  1. sue lobsey said on 31/05/2011 at 11:03 am

    Hi Diane, i thought you would have something on your website about this, how disturbing that footage was, it made me feel physically sick. We need to stop sending our live cattle & sheep there now!!!!!!! I’d like to slit those peoples throats with a blunt knife and see how they like it, those cruel bastards.

  2. Margaret said on 31/05/2011 at 11:39 am

    After watching 4 corners last night I was unable to sleep. I still can’t believe that this kind of barbaric act is considered to be a religious ceremony. In my belief everything has a soul and that soul should be treated with kindness and compassion, not brutally bashed and beaten. The images of the cows beating their heads against the cold concrete floor while trying to stand up with their feet tied, the slaughtermen repeatedly cutting the throats because one cut wasn’t enough, the callas beatings of that poor animal with the broken leg, to try to make it stand up. But the one that stays with me… is the trembling fear of that poor beast forced to watch it’s friends being slaughtered and cutup before he too was to be slaughtered. We all need to stand up and have our voices heard by the authorities responsible for these barbaric slaughter houses and let them know that we do not want our animals treated that way. Thank you Di for opening my eyes to what really goes on behind closed doors.

  3. Rosina Saunders said on 31/05/2011 at 12:23 pm

    Anyone who watched 4 Corners last night has to be sickened, shamed and heartbroken. This is the ultimate betrayal of trust with these animals who have only treated with respect (even if it is only because they are a financial asset of their owners), to have their final moments filled with unbelievable horror makes me ashamed that the Government who is supposed to represent me can allow this to happen. I have emailed Julia Gillard and signed the GetUp petition and will continue to try and get everyone I know to become as outraged as I am. PLEASE EVERYONE send emails to Canberra and sign petitions. We cannot allow the final moments of these gentle, stoic animals to be filled with fear and disrespect at the hands of these BARBARIANS.

  4. Diana said on 31/05/2011 at 12:37 pm

    I know exactly how you all feel. I have spent the day crying, in shock and numb. I knew it was going to be shocking but it was far worse than I imagined. and I hate to say it but 4 Corners didn’t include the most distressing footage that Animals Australia had shot. I am left wondering how can these people and people who defend their actions and this trade possibly belong to the same race as me. We must not give up – that is exactly that the pollies want – everyone to forget about it. I’m glad to say most of Australia will accept nothing less than a complete ban – not some pathetic assurance that they (the Indonesians) will receive more training. You can not train someone to be compassionate or humane. You can not train someone to develop a soul. The world is a sad place indeed.

  5. Melania Cuny said on 14/06/2011 at 5:36 pm

    You wrote some good parts here. I searched for the topic and found plenty of people who agree with you.

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