WSPA presented Members of Parliament Kelvin Thomson, Janelle Saffin and Melissa Parke with a global photo petition against live export at Parliament House in Canberra today.
In accepting the petition Kelvin Thomson MP said: “I find the animal welfare and economic arguments for a transition away from live export to chilled meat export compelling.”
Since WSPA launched its Humane Chain campaign, over 170,000 supporters have taken action internationally, calling for an end to the live export trade. In the last month, over 11,000 people have uploaded photos with arms outstretched to visually represent this call, forming a global ‘Humane Chain’.
In addition to the petition, Labor MP’s also heard from a representative of major Australian processed meat exporter, V&V Walsh’s, about the negative impact of live export on rural jobs and economic growth, and how a transition to local processing for export could provide employment and stability across the livestock industry supply chain.
Jessica Borg, Campaigns Manager at WSPA said: “We’ve had an overwhelming response from our supporters right around the world, horrified and surprised the Australian Government are condoning the cruelty involved in live exports. In the last month alone, over 11,000 people have joined our photo petition from over 80 countries, including Egypt, Brazil, the USA, Great Britain, Italy and even Panama.”
“The fallout from exposure of welfare abuses in the Australian live export industry has been reported in mainstream international media, and across our global animal welfare network. Leaving many asking why, as a developed country, Australia allows this double standard to continue.”
“New Zealand effectively banned live export in 2003 and replaced it with a more profitable, and ethical, domestically processed chilled meat export trade – hard questions need to be asked about why Australia isn’t doing the same.”
Peter Cody, plant manager at Australian processed meat exporter V&V Walsh’s, said: “There’s been a lot of talk in the media about financial and job losses if live export winds down. The irony is that live export is actually stifling growth and job opportunities in rural areas where we could be processing and value adding across the supply chain.”
“What’s been lost in the storm around live export recently is a practical and constructive debate about the alternatives. By transitioning to a chilled meat trade, we’ll actually keep more money in the Australian economy, create more jobs in rural communities and we’ll have a more sustainable and stable market option for producers,” Mr Cody said.
Jessica Borg, Campaigns Manager at WSPA said: “Over 170,000 of WSPA’s supporters and the Australian meat processing industry call on the Government to recognise the golden opportunity they have to make some meaningful progress in this ongoing catastrophe; shift Labor Party policy away from unquestioning support of live export and put a framework in place to replace live exports with a locally processed chilled meat export trade.”
For more information on this issue and to take action, go to www.humanechain.org.au