Queensland Country life reports the following:
ALEC will be inviting Dr Simpson, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and Vets Against Live Export (not affiliated with AVA) to participate in a workshop to discuss:- The development of a Code of Conduct that outlines the expectations of exporters and AAVs
- The development of a grievance mechanism for AAVs that respects their professional integrity and provides a platform for resolution of matters that relate to specifically to animal welfare
VALE would welcome such a workshop. VALE and AVA share the belief that there need to be independent third party employed veterinarians on every ship. If conditions are so good on ships now (as opposed to when Dr Simpson sailed), this should not be a big ask.
VALE has been overwhelmed with veterinary and public support for its role in exposing shipboard conditions.
VALE has also received requests from veterinarians, veterinary bodies and the public to pass on their support (moral and financial) for our veterinary colleague, Dr Lynn Simpson.
We share one below, from an ex abattoir worker - it seems to sum up everything:
"A Letter To VALE.ORG
I was absolutely appalled at Lyn Simpsons report on live animal export, this gross cruelty has been going on for many years, as much as you see on the telly about it being fixed, it never has been. And the slaughtering in 3rd world countries is just as bad.
There is only one answer, stop live export now, and then we will have meatworks again, employing Australians here and sending frozen meat abroad.
I remember our meatworks here in Portland, Vic, when live export started, I worked there, I was a boner, it was good money too. Alas, it soon closed, 600 losing their work.
What on earth is wrong with the government that it allows this trade to continue.
These are living beings, with feelings, same as us, how can we call ourselves human when we do this to animals?
I am ashamed to belong to the human race at times, and this is one of them.
I spent some time on the www looking for an email address for Lynn and came across your web site, so emailing you folk with my message, I had to contact somebody to vent my thoughts. I am in the habit of emailing politicians but fear my messages fall on deaf ears for I seldom get a reply.
So you may be able to pass my thoughts on to Lynn, or just take them as you will, but let’s just stop live exports, now, and forever. It can’t be fixed, it has to be stopped."
A live-ex vet's photos are never palatable - VALE has seen quite a few...and the occasional video also. This is definitely what the industry dont want us to see. Foreign slaughter issues they can dodge......conditions under Australian control, they can't.
The only way they can wiggle out of this is to claim conditions have improved since the photos were taken....they havent:
1. The Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) has changed little since its introduction in 2005. The latest version is from 2011, when Lynn Simpson was still sailing. The ASEL review report was published in May 2013 and the recommendations have not been followed.
2. ASEL v2.3 (2011) has exactly the same space allowances as were present in 1999 (Marine Orders 43 Issue 4) and 1998 (Investigation of cattle deaths during sea transport from Australia; Norris and Creeper MLA). There has been no change in routine space allowances for at least 18 years and certainly none since Lynn Simpson left.
3. Provisions for bedding have never changed in ASEL despite a review in 2009 (Banney, Henderson, Caston, MLA) - some of Lynn Simpson's older photos were used in that report....yes, she has tried to change the situation for a long time.
4. There have been no substantial changes to shipboard mortality for sheep or cattle for over 15 years (Shipboard Performance Reports; Moore et al Aust Vet J 2015).
So....here's the question....if everything has so magically fixed....and all since Lynn Simpson has left the trade.... there should be no problem having independent veterinarians onboard. They should be welcomed. Likewise, there should be no resistance to the ALP/Greens proposal of having an Independent Office for Animal Welfare.
A squeaky clean industry should have nothing to hide.......
Dr Lynn Simpson is not the first veterinarian to be silenced by the live export industry, and unless the trade stops she will not be the last.
Mr Crean [Chair of ALEC] denies that the industry bullies shipboard veterinarians, but bullying has been a part of the trade for decades.
Very little has changed in the last 15 years. Most of the major exporters are the same and most of the ships are the same. The space allowances are exactly the same as they were in 1998. The only thing that has changed on ships is the class of stock and a slightly increased space allowance for stock heading into a Middle East summer. Nothing has changed substantially to improve animal welfare on these voyages.
If government and industry were truly committed to animal welfare they would have an independent veterinarian on every ship.
ABC continues to expose the systemic problems in the live ex trade. Last week Vietnam. This week, the highly questionable conduct of the government department supposedly responsible for both promoting and policing the trade. The Department of Agriculture ditched expert live export vet, Dr Lynn Simpson, at the request of the live export industry, after Dr Simpson made a critical report.
ALEC says Lynn's damning evidence of cruelty on live export ships is past history. VALE disagrees. Same exporters, same ships, same welfare issues. No updates to ASEL since 2011, no response to ASEL review of 2013 and no changes to space allowances since at least 1998 (MLA document SBMR.001....if you have Appendix 4...not available on their website!). There are endemic problems with animal cruelty on ships which the live ex industry suppresses by pressuring vets to stay silent.
The censuring of Dr Lynn Simpson confirms the undeniable manipulation of the Department by the live export industry in order to hide its dirty animal cruelty secrets. The trade must be phased out with independent vets on every ship until the last ship sails.
Dont worry about compliance.....just worry about the dollars. That seems to be the clear message coming from MLA.
"If you put them under pressure, they will find a solution that will beat the system (eg: tunnels in French and American Wars)" Dr Patching said of the Vietnamese importers.
[OH REALLY....but arent we improving animal welfare in the importing countries?....changing the culture Mr Crean?......]
Dr Patching concluded email by appearing to urge exporters to put dollars before welfare:
"We need to keep working with them to make their companies more profitable and less emphasis on compliance to regulations," he said.
So there we have it. MLA knew about Indonesia....for 20 years....and did nothing about it. They know about Vietnam (and no doubt every other importing country)....and they concentrate on that dollar. Animal wlefare has never been and never will be of concern to the live export trade or MLA. Farmers should be as outraged by this MLA response as the rest of Australia.
No, its not Animals Australia or those dreadful animal advocates, it is an article in the ultraconservative West Australian newspaper this morning.
The heading: "Wellard an embarrassing mess"
The text: "Now it’s not just ugly, it’s plain embarrassing."...
"...confirmed investors’ fears that the live export industry is a lot more unpredictable than they would have garnered from the company’s prospectus and that management’s visibility on earnings is worryingly clouded." ...
"It is the corporate equivalent of death by a thousand cuts."...
"...it will enter its second financial year with its credibility in tatters and facing a long period of rehabilitation."...
"For investors pursuing predictability, Wellard has been a disaster."...
Hmm no wonder Elders CEO said: "live exports were a high risk area from a company's financial and reputational points of view." ...YES THEY ARE!
Maybe the same economics that failed Australian animals so badly will end up saving them after all....ie when it all goes bust.
A quick check reveals VALE has blogged on the failure that is ESCAS over 40 times since ESCAS came into being.
After the ESCAS report, yep, thats right, the same one that forgot to mention the butchering of 22000 sheep in Pakistan (a hastily approved ESCAS destination) as a non-compliance.....we wrote "The ESCAS report: What it Doesnt Say (http://www.vale.org.au/blog/the-escas-report-what-it-doesnt-say). Hardly worth writing it again: a cracked record.
ESCAS is not the answer and will never protect Australian animals overseas. Live export has callously put profit before animal welfare for its entire history. Australian exporters know that as they have done for over 40 years of animal abuse...and they dont care. Australian government likewise. If the show must go on, at a huge cost to both Australian animals and Australian jobs, just quit the pretence and state the obvious: yes, we know and no, we dont give a toss.
"Take Australia out of the market, that sledge hammering will continue." And so says Simon Crean from Australian Live Exporters Council.
Yep, thats right... despite all evidence to the contrary, including the cattle sledgehammering shown last night on ABCs 730 report, but stretching back to before the 1985 Senate Enquiry, they repeat the mantra that live export improves animal welfare.
Should we send Australian children to third world countries too... to improve child education......or help reduce child labour?
Come on Simon.....no-one believes that line any more..
ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) was the system introduced after the Farmer Inquiry into unacceptable slaughter and treatment of animal in Indonesian abattoirs. It was supposed to ensure that Australian animals received acceptable treatment in overseas countries.
In an article entitled "Does the government have the power to take an exporter's licence?", James Nason accurately reviews the ESCAS provisions and details why they don't work. Most importantly, he refers to the government's own review of ESCAS which reflected on "the difficulties in pursuing criminal action against an exporter for a breach of animal welfare standards in another country and involving third parties outside of Australia's regulatory control". This says, in a nutshell, why the system can never work in practical terms. The article is critical of the lack of penalties where there have been failures of the ESCAS system. It quotes an industry source as saying that some exporters are prepared to take the risk of not complying with ESCAS conditions. The implication is they know they are unlikely to face significant sanctions if they get caught. The article goes on to mention some notable failures of the ESCAS system, including horrific slaughter methods in Vietnam.
What is important about this article is that it comes from a respected industry source, and does not simply repeat the mantra of both the live export industry and the government. Instead, it is highly critical of the ESCAS system. The author is clearly dissatisfied with the way some exporters repeatedly breach ESCAS requirements, with no consequences.