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Once again exporters of live animals have their hand in the taxpayers’ pocket and the Australian Government is propping up a trade that risks the welfare of animals every day.

The new projects announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, funded with $1.8 million of taxpayer’s money, indicate serious problems with the Export Supply Chain Assurance Scheme.

A project to translate ESCAS training materials reveals that Australia has been sending tens of thousands of animals to at least five countries that lack crucial documents such as; standard operating procedures, work instructions and compliance manuals being available in the native language.

The need for funding to train ESCAS auditors in compliance requirements, suggests that current auditors aren’t up to the job of assessing animal welfare outcomes in overseas abattoirs.

A project to upgrade already approved ESCAS facilities prompts the question - why were these facilities approved if they needed improving?

And the icing on the cake is that Australian taxpayers are going to fund the live export industry association to conduct workshops with live exporters so they can improve their public relations skills.

“The bulk of this funding package is directed at expanding live exports to even more destinations, yet it comes at a time when the Australian government is struggling to enforce basic animal welfare standards in existing destinations”, said RSPCA Australia CEO, Heather Neil.

“Live exports only account for 0.3% of Australian agricultural exports, yet millions of taxpayer dollars have already been invested propping up this high risk industry.

“How many more times will the Australian public be expected to shell out money to support an industry that continues to tarnish the reputation of livestock producers with incident after incident of cruelty?

“Transitioning to a meat only trade will ensure our animals can be slaughtered under Australian standards, will provide new employment opportunities for many regions throughout the country and will give farmers the assurance they need.

“Investing for a future sustainable livestock industry without live exports is in the best interests of Australian producers and their animals,” said Ms Neil.

Media contact: Elise Meakin 0419 748 907

 

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