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7 July 2011

RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil today described as bitterly disappointing, yesterday’s Senate Committee hearing into the live export trade.

“This was a forum to talk about the endemic cruelty in the live export industry and how we can ensure the maximum protection for Australian animals while ever they continue to be sent overseas.

“Very few questions related to the terms of reference of the Inquiry. There is still a refusal by some to deal with the issues at hand and this is why we are still sitting here talking about animal cruelty in the live export industry 30 years after the trade began.”

Ms Neil also denounced Senator Chris Back’s allegations that abattoir workers in Indonesia had been paid to abuse animals.

“The line of questioning was not only baseless but deeply offensive for anyone working to protect animals from cruelty.

“RSPCA Australia conducted a thorough scientific analysis of the hours and hours of raw footage from Indonesia and there is absolutely no doubt that cruelty is routine and widespread.”

The RSPCA in its opening statement detailed irrefutable evidence that the live export industry has known for years the cruelty inflicted on Australian cattle in Indonesia.

“Meat and Livestock Australia reports from 2004 have consistently highlighted significant welfare problems at the point of slaughter, from head slapping, to abattoir workers deliberately hurting animals, to ineffective throat cutting and restraint.

“MLA, LiveCorp and exporters have failed the cattle, sheep and goat industries in developing markets for live animals overseas with little reference to the expectations of the Australian community.

“Cattle producers, their service providers and rural communities are now paying the price for a lack of oversight of the live export trade by successive Australian Governments.

“Our great hope is that one of the outcomes of this Inquiry is that never again will this industry be allowed to operate under the shroud of secrecy that has kept it going for so long and that has hidden the suffering of millions of animals.”


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