Comments (0) Australia, Blog, Middle East, News

My qoutes in the Daily Tele

The Daily Telegraph published the following article regarding today’s forum at Parliament House:

Calls to end Australia’s ‘inhumane’ sheep export

* By Andrew Drummond
* From: AAP
* March 10, 2010 2:56PM

IN years to come, Australians will view the nation’s “inhumane” live animal exports with similar abhorrence to slave trading, animal welfare advocates say.

Some four million sheep leave Australian shores each year, embarking on a “long, cruel journey” to the Middle East, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) says.

During a public forum at NSW Parliament House on Wednesday, WSPA said sheep which survived the three-week trip often arrived injured before being callously slaughtered.

It claims only 20 per cent of Australian sheep exported live are used for religious purposes and is calling for a shift to a chilled meat trade.

However, sheep farmer Andrew Martel told the forum the Middle East market demanded live meat imports and if Australia did not meet that need, other countries would.

Freelance journalist Reuben Brand, commissioned by WSPA, showed footage of his recent visits to Middle Eastern livestock saleyards and abattoirs.

He said he witnessed shipments of live sheep arrive from Australia “suffering from a heightened state of stress” during the past seven months.

“I saw sheep being dragged by the back legs, trussed, bound and thrown into car boots … animals were being killed – skinned and gutted – in front of other animals.”

He said his research found 40,000 sheep died in transit annually and animals often didn’t have adequate access to water and were in cramped conditions with about three sheep per square metre, standing on wire mesh flooring.

WSPA programs director Emily Reeves said it was “shameful” both sides of federal politics supported the trade, particularly when more Australian jobs could be supported by adopting a chilled meat trade.

“We have Halal-accredited meat processors here in Australia who could be doing that work,” she said.

WSPA research found a sheep processed in Australia was worth 20 per cent more to the economy than a sheep exported live.

Ms Reeves conceded the Australian government had worked in conjunction with foreign authorities to improve conditions for animals, but said “inhumane” treatment continued.

She said an end to live meat exports was a long-term goal, considering Australia was the world’s largest exporter of live sheep.

But Ms Reeves said it would happen one day and Australians would then “look back on these days in horror, as we do now of the slave trade”.

Mr Martel, from Wellington in central western NSW, accepted the trade wasn’t “squeaky clean”, but said it was improving and Australia needed to remain in the market.

“They want live sheep. That’s the market, and if we don’t offer that then they will get it from somewhere else,” he said.

“One of their other options is to source the stock from China, and then we will see how the humane treatment goes.”

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