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The concerns and signatures of more than 21,000 caring Australians have been presented in Parliament as part of efforts to stop any possibility of the live export of Australian horses, ponies, and donkeys for slaughter.

Senator Derryn Hinch tabled the petition this week, calling upon the Australian Government to expressly prohibit the live export of all equines for the purposes of slaughter, and to reject any initiatives that would facilitate the development of a live export trade in horses, ponies, or donkeys for slaughter.

The petition text reads, “Horses, ponies, and donkeys are highly sensitive animals that would suffer tremendously if subjected to the stressors of live export for slaughter in foreign countries.

“On 24 May 2017, during Senate Estimates hearings, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources confirmed that it had received a number of inquiries for the export of horses and donkeys ‘in large numbers for slaughter’,

“The Department further confirmed that it was developing policy that would facilitate such a trade.

“If such a trade was to commence it would lead to the suffering of many thousands of Australian horses, ponies, and donkeys as they would be sent overseas to be slaughtered for their skin and meat.

“This would be unethical and highly unacceptable to the Australian community.”

The RSPCA understands the enquiries received were associated with the Chinese demand for equine products. Pony, horse and donkey meat is eaten, while donkey skin is dried and ground up to make a gelatine-based substance called ‘ejiao’, which is used by people who believe it is good for their appearance and vitality.

The Chinese ejiao trade has had a devastating impact on donkey populations around the world, including some of the most vulnerable countries in African and South American regions.

RSPCA Australia will continue working with the Australian Government to ensure such a trade does not occur.

The RSPCA also welcomed the May 2017 statement by the Australian Live Exporters’ Council, that the Council and its members are ‘neither seeking nor supportive of any such trade commencing’.

To follow this issue, sign up to the RSPCA’s e-news at www.rspca.org.au.

The RSPCA is Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation and one of Australia’s most trusted charities. The RSPCA works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.

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