Australian gov't under pressure to ban live animal exports

08:13, June 07, 2011      

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is recently facing pressure from the Greens, unions, lobby groups and Labor colleagues to ban live animal exports.

The footage on ABC1's Four Corners last Monday showed Australian cattle being tortured in Indonesian slaughterhouses.

The footage has led to a federal government temporary suspension on exports to 11 Indonesian facilities.

Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Andrew Wilkie and Australian Greens leader Bob Brown urged the parliament to immediately ban all live animal exports from Australia.

"The bill would place a prohibition on the export of live animals for slaughter not just to Indonesia but to the rest of the world," Senator Brown told ABC News.

"We are going to stop the cruelty that we've seen serially in countries overseas that don't have the standards that Australia has, and we need to be ensuring that the slaughter occurs here in Australia."

An online petition organized by lobby group GetUp has received more than 200,000 signatures to support ban on live animal exports, while MPs are also being bombarded with pleas to end the trade.

West Australian Labor MP Melissa Parke last week tabled a petition by 40,000 people calling for an end to live animal exports.

Parke's seat of Fremantle is home to a port which sees 80 percent of live sheep exports and 25 percent of live cattle exports each year.

The petition has called for the live animal trade to be phased out over five years, and more money invested in transport and incentives for producers to have their cattle slaughtered locally.

Independents Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie also support the move, both saying that the industry should be ended within three years, with an immediate moratorium on all live cattle exports to Indonesia.

Protests are also scheduled to be held in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth on Saturday, June 18 calling for an end to live animal exports.

Meanwhile, the footage has also aroused huge response from beef customers across Australia, with Members of the Australian Meat Industry Council said there has been a drop in sales as disturbed consumers turn away from beef.

"They're starting to ask now how our animals are processed. They're very concerned," Craig Terry McGimpsey from Horizons Meat in Townsville of New South Wales told ABC News on Monday.

Members of the Australian Meat Industry Council will meet with butchers this week to determine the impact from the release of footage.

Source: Xinhua
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