An article in Sheep Central reports on the need for Australia's wool industry to improve its non-mulesed wool rates, noting that consumers are not satisfied with the use of pain relief as an option.
“We’ve seen as recently as last week AWI’s country manager for China Jeff Ma state that the next generation of consumers in China are already asking questions about the provenance of products they buy be it wool or other,” said the president of the Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors.
So what if this next generation of Chinese consumers expands their thinking to live ex? They may not be satisfied that partial measures such as lower stocking densities are adequate protection against the cruelty of live export, especially on long voyages through extremes of temperatures with rough seas on ships with no vets, looked after by stockpersons with no formal accreditation. Time to rethink?
Live export volumes to Indonesia are down 15 per cent but Australia's boxed beef exports to Indonesia are steady. And with the new space allowances (ie the marginal 7-15% increase above what cattle have had to endure for the last 40 years required to provide baseline animal welfare), this could decrease further. Add that to the fact that the Indonesian meat processing industry had diversified in response to emerging consumer requirements and price points - an example being mixing beef, chicken and buffalo to produce new processed products, it is clear that Australia should be boxing and/processing meat and doing the value adding here.
RSPCA WA has, responded to WA Farmers chief executive officer Trevor Whittington comments that RSPCA should essentially confine itself to dogs and cat shelters stating that this is a simplistic, misinformed and short-sighted view. Mr Whittington seemingly didnt know or forgot that RSPCA WA inspectors conducted more than 6800 animal cruelty in the last financial year alone.
More importantly, the RSPCA points out that Mr Whittington should spend more time listening to the consumers of agriculture - the large majority of whom reside in cities.
Just as a consumer can trust that a restaurant is clean because health inspectors have the ability to inspect a premises unannounced, they should be able to trust that their food is produced under good animal welfare conditions because experienced, knowledgeable and professional animal welfare inspectors have been able to ensure minimum welfare standards are consistently being met.
The RSPCA WA concluded: "When the CEO of their own industry association holds such archaic and outdated views on animal welfare, what chance do they have of convincing their most influential critic, their customers, otherwise?"
A new European documentary shows the fate of animals transported outside the EU: they are beaten, injured, exhausted, dehydrated, starved... and then they face unstunned and often barbaric slaughter.
It's happening to European animals, and despite industry assurances to the contrary, it is happening to Australian animals. Most recently in August this year, more new footage by the "independent auditor" Animals Australia taken inside Indonesian abattoirs showed Australian cattle being tied up by the mouth, dragged around a slaughter house by rope while alive and slaughtered while fully conscious, breaching rules that supposedly protect exported Australian animals from end-destination cruelty (ESCAS).
EU regulations haven't prevented the cruelty. Australian regulations haven't prevented the cruelty. OIE guidelines have not prevented the cruelty. It's time to end the live export trade globally.
Watch an extract of the European documentary Cattle for the Orient here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrV6cZZu_KM
Corporate New Zealand farmer Southern Pastures was recently named among a group of 15 fund managers who lead in responsible investment by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.
The fund owns 19 dairy farms (over 16,400 acres) and is a 50% shareholder in Lewis Road Creamery. It does not allow any of its cattle to be exported live. Chairman Prem Maan said: “We’ve always had a cast-iron policy of not participating in the live export trade. We’re hopeful that the recent tragic loss of cattle and crew en route to China will force authorities to reconsider the policy that allows this to continue.”
Southern Pastures’ Lewis Road Creamery grass-fed butter is sold by Whole Foods and other stores across the United States and by Woolworths across Australia.
The live export industry tries to paint those against the trade as “activists” that hold extreme views, but it's just not the case. People from all walks of life, country and city, act on their ethics to prevent cruelty to animals.
VALE would say yes....at least for the animals but see the latest maritime article on this topic : /splash247.com/are-livestock-carriers-synonymous-with-disaster/ . Perhaps, there are more reasons than just Covid for vets and stockpersons not wanting to go on ships: www.farmweekly.com.au/story/6929641/vets-and-observers-in-short-supply-for-live-ex-voyages/?cs=5151&fbclid=IwAR1pW_yeOxGlLaiE-JaodTZY4DbKlCl36ST30R8N0ugYGjgXudioPegPNSo
Regardless, people can choose and make informed choices.....we must always remember that the animals have never had any choice.
Major animal welfare organisation SPCA and animal rights organisation SAFE have written an open letter to the NZ prime minister requesting cessation of livestock export. NZ stopped their export trade for slaughter years ago to protect their reputation but continued to export dairy cows knowing that they had to endure terrible voyages and that there was no protection for them at the end destination in huge Chinese mega-dairies.
NZ was right to worry about reputational damage as the worldwide spotlight is firmly on them after the tragedy of the Gulf Livestock 1 .
The live export industry now has nearly a year to try and get everyone to forget the truth. Farm Weekly reports on a push to shorten the Northern Summer Order moratorium. The exporters want a change before next year's anticipated moratorium in June. The report indicates that RETWA's June shipment on the Al Kuwait, a voyage with a stocking density so low that it was not commercially viable, is considered evidence enough for reducing the moratorium.
Even if the voyage were representative, which it was not, consider the facts:
-all sheep suffered some level of heat stress
-28 sheep died but inexplicably another 155 sheep totally disappeared from the manifold
-28 died but only 20 got a post mortem....why? too autolysed with heat stress?
- there were trauma and crush injuries
-3 late pregnant ewes were identified and four lambs born even though late pregnant sheep are not ASEL compliant
- pens near the engine were hotter despite the purported brilliant ventilation on the purpose-built ship
- intervention was required to prevent pen flooding
And let's not forget the images on board the Awassi Express from five voyages showing thousands of sheep suffering severe heat stress and dying bogged in excrement; injured and sick animals left to die slowly; decomposed bodies left in pens with living sheep and pregnant ewes giving birth and their lambs dying.
And lets not forget the statistics that show that the mortality (and thus suffering) is far worse in the northern summer months.
This is the truth about the industry that one "show" voyage by the Al Kuwait is expected to hide.
New Zealand farmer Brett Sanger decided to look into the live export industry after the Gulf Livestock 1 capsized, and he didn't like what he saw. Mr Sanger isn't an activist, and he says it's out of character for him to speak to the media, but here is what he has to say about animal welfare in the live export trade, as reported by Stuff NZ:
“You start seeing some fairly appalling images of what’s happened on other ships and on reflection you think, do I really want to be doing this?”...
“We have welfare standards in New Zealand which are probably the highest in the world, or probably up there with the highest in the world, and we’re sending them to another country which has virtually none.”...
"It could possibly cost me a bit but there are other options; you can graze them on yourself longer and different markets open up at different times.
"I saw somebody the other day, saying: 'We're sending our cows, but would you send your companion animals? Would you send your horse? Your dog? What's the difference?'."
The live export of cattle has been temporarily suspended after the government decided it too should look into the trade. Its review, expected to take about a month, will evaluate the export approval process but will not consider the fate of animals going to countries with lower animal welfare standards.
Monty Ndjavera, Director of Tradeport Namibia, has halted his live export plans after strong opposition locally and internationally.
He had planned to ship animals from South Africa and Botswana by road to local seaports for export by ship to Kuwait, but he said his logistics company Tradeport does not want to be involved in a business that will attract widespread outrage. He said he is a proud Namibian and wants to ensure his company’s reputation remains intact.
Congratulations to Mr Ndjavera for listening and for having the flexibility and foresight to consider abandoning the idea and for being optimistic and creative enough to be ready to startup something else instead.
Australian expert Dr Lynn Simpson is quoted in the article saying that countries should slaughter and process the meat domestically and then export it. This will ensure jobs and by-products are kept local and benefit the local economy, instead of sending animals “to a stressfully cruel voyage followed by un-stunned, fully conscious ritual slaughter by knife.”