Speaking at a joint press conference with Independent MP Andrew Wilkie at Parliament House, Animals Australia said that if politicians could not guarantee an end to animal cruelty in export markets, they should introduce legislation to ban live exports.
“We are calling on Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott to provide their personal guarantee that exported animals will never again be subjected to terrible abuse. If they cannot do so, their course of action is obvious - they must support legislation to phase out the live trade,” said Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White.
The call comes after further footage of cruelty at an abattoir in Egypt was released, which showed cattle having their throats cut while conscious. Previous footage from two abattoirs in the country had shown animals having their tendons cut and their eyes stabbed out.
Animals Australia said the cruelty that had been revealed in Egypt proved that exporters’ claim that they needed to stay in a market to improve animal welfare was “nothing more than a PR spin”.
“The Australian industry has had nearly 20 years of involvement in Egypt. Instead of contributing to positive animal welfare outcomes, this industry has been contributing to appalling ones by supplying animals to the horrors of fully conscious slaughter,” said White.
“Australian farmers have been deceived. They have again been told that their animals were being treated humanely, only to discover otherwise. To make matters worse, the blind political support for live export is fuelling a false confidence in a trade that is inherently unstable and unsustainable.”
The organisation said that moving from live export to a meat-only trade would provide more stability for farmers and generate more jobs.
“The sky won’t fall in without live export,” White concluded.
Wilkie has announced that he will introduce a new Bill to parliament to phase out live export.