From RSPCA Australia:
For those of us who care about the welfare of Australian farm animals, it has been a tough couple of weeks
The live animal export issue has reared its ugly head once again. Is there any industry that’s as disaster-plagued as this one?
Once again, the Government has decided in favour of supporting this volatile industry, over our own laws and against the will of the majority of Australians.
Once again, animals will suffer in the hands of this industry, and pay the price for their reckless approach to animal welfare.
Time and again, we are disappointed, and frustrated, and gobsmacked by what this industry is allowed to get away with. Unfortunately, the Government (and the very elected politicians who fought for those basic safeguards) backflip whenever the carrot of live exporter profits follows the stick of animal cruelty.
But there are some silver linings to this dark cloud.
Every incident that happens, and every action you take, is another chip away at this industry, adding to its horror public track record, of decades of repeated evidence of suffering and cruelty.
We had a measure of success in the northern summer ban, a measure we could not possibly have foreseen before the notorious Awassi Express journeys of 2017 blasted a long-overdue spotlight on the routine heat stress, suffering and death this industry was willing to inflict upon Australian sheep.
There were no plans or intentions to include an independent observer on this ship, but thanks to your efforts, there is one on board now. With your support, we wrote to politicians to urge attention to this issue, we kept phoning and emailing the department, and we saw multiple people speaking out in favour of our call (including the WA Premier himself).
While we sadly weren’t able to stop the ship from leaving, at least there’s someone on board now who can record the consequences of this absurd decision. We’ll be keenly awaiting their reports, images and video evidence.
And now we can also let you know that we’ve submitted a formal animal welfare complaint to the West Australian Government. The evidence of the suffering these sheep are likely to endure is overwhelming, and we believe it may be in breach of WA’s animal protection legislation.
This ship should never have been allowed to leave.
This has been an extraordinary chain of actions and decisions by the regulator, and we will continue to work over the coming weeks and months to find out how it has unfolded and to ensure it can never happen again.
Finally, regardless of the outcome for this shipment, we believe that – much like those five disastrous journeys of the Awassi Express in 2017 – this latest debacle may be a turning point for this disaster-plagued industry.
The failure of the federal government to uphold even its own regulations, despite its knowledge of the dangers;
The failure of live exporters to adhere to their own promised moratorium, introduced as a last-ditch measure to avoid a total ban;
And the strange chain of events that led to this surprise exemption decision, may prove to be the final blow to any remaining public trust or confidence in the industry or the regulators.
Industries cannot survive without community support, and the RSPCA believes this latest live export fiasco is likely to have significant long-term consequences for the industry, and may in fact expedite the inevitable end to live sheep exports.
As always, thank you for your efforts.
The RSPCA Australia team.