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.
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