WSPA calls for action as new footage in Australia exposes the cruelty of live cattle export

Jun 6, 2011

Millions of animals suffer every year, as they are transported for as long as 30 days in filthy and stressful conditions.

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 slaughterhouses on Australia’s Four Corners program.

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 million 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 program, 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 program.
Do you want to see an end to this cruelty? You can make your voice heard by visiting the WSPA Australia Humane Chain website today.

(Note: U.S. supporters: When sending the action, please do not enter your zip code in the “Step 1” pop-up box. Instead, check the “Not in Australia” box, click “Done” and proceed to “Step 2”)

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 announcement only resulted in public outrage, and Members of Parliament (MPs) are calling for more action, stating, “We have had enough inquiries.

Minister Ludwig’s announcement has only spurred on more action from an already outraged community. In the 48 hours that followed the Four Corners program, 10,000 letters were sent to MPs through the WSPA Australia’s 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 its concern for animal welfare issues, calling for all cattle exports to Indonesia to be suspended.

What’s next?

On June 14, 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 actions and is pleased that so many Australian MPs are standing up for what is right.

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.

Learn more about WSPA’s global work to end farm animal cruelty >>

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