WSPA is calling for an immediate end to live cattle exports from Australia to Indonesia, following the exposure of horrific cruelty inflicted on animals in Indonesia’s slaughter houses on Australia’s Four Corners programme.
Jessica Borg, Campaign Manager at WSPA Australia said, “As an international animal welfare campaigner I’ve witnessed some truly distressing scenes in my time, but even I was shocked by the Animals Australia footage aired on Four Corners showing Australian cattle being senselessly tortured and forced to endure completely unnecessary pain and fear. This is a trade that needs to end immediately.”
WSPA will continue to meet with Australian Members of Parliament on this issue and has sent an urgent letter to the Prime Minister to support Animals Australia and the RSPCA Australia, in their call for the live cattle trade to Indonesia to be halted immediately, and for the Australian Government to announce an end date for live animal exports to all other countries.
Each year, Australia exports hundreds of thousands of cattle, predominantly to Indonesia, and approximately 4,000,000 sheep to the Middle East. Transport conditions are so horrendous that up to 40,000 sheep do not even survive the journey mainly due to starvation, overcrowding, stress, physical trauma or disease, with cattle facing similar welfare issues.
As seen on ABC’s Four Corners programme, sadly those that survive the journey are likely to face further cruel treatment and an inhumane death.
Jessica added, “Surely no-one in the Australian government, at Meat and Livestock Australia or the farming industry could possibly justify the widespread and absolutely horrific abuse cattle endure in largely unregulated Indonesian abattoirs. If Australia continues to supply live cattle to this system we are condoning the appalling treatment documented in the programme.”
“Whether it’s cattle shipped to Indonesia or sheep shipped to the Middle East, Australia has no means of protecting its animals once they have been sent off shore. The only control we have is whether or not we send them.”
“For years veterinarians have been calling for an end to this horrific trade, clearly it’s time for the Australian government to stop trusting the live export industry’s advice on animal welfare matters and start listening to the experts.”
Partial suspension of live export not enough
In response to the immense public outcry, Australian Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig announced a partial suspension of live cattle exports to the 11 Indonesian abattoirs featured in the ABC’s report.
In a statement released the day after the horrific evidence aired nationally, Minister Ludwig also announced that he would commission an independent review of the complete supply chain for live exports, up to and including the point of slaughter.
However, this only resulted in public outrage, and Members of Parliament (MPs) calling for more action, stating “We have had enough inquiries.”
Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd also expressed his disgust as he took to social media calling the exposed practice in Indonesia “revolting, unacceptable and inhumane”.
Minister Ludwig’s announcement has only spurred on more action from an already outraged community. In the 48 hours that followed the Four Corners programme, 10,000 letters were sent to MPs through the WSPA Humane Chain website, and the total number of people who have joined our campaign to end live animal export in Australia has risen to over 96,000.
The Australian Veterinary Association has also come on board announcing their concern for animal welfare issues, calling for all cattle exports to Indonesia to be suspended.
On the 14th of June the Australian Labor Party will debate the issue, following a motion put forward by MPs Janelle Saffin and Kelvin Thomson. WSPA commends Saffin and Thomson on their action and is pleased that so many Australian MPs are standing up for what is right.
It is clear that it is not right to continue sending Australian animals to Indonesia to suffer horrifically, while the Australian Government figures out what to do.
WSPA is calling on the Australian Government to really take heed of the evidence Animals Australia and the RSPCA Australia have provided and immediately end the cattle trade to Indonesia, and announce an end date for live animal exports to all other countries.