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20 March 2011

The future of Australia’s live animal export industry will be debated in the Federal parliament tomorrow, on the back of mounting evidence of the abuse of Australian animals overseas.

The RSPCA said the Private Member’s Motion demonstrates growing frustration within government ranks about the blind support afforded the trade despite proof that live exports are bad for animals, bad for jobs, and bad for the economy.

“87% of Australians don’t like live exports. The parliamentarians speaking up tomorrow are not only reflecting the wishes of their constituents but they are representing the interests of animals, farmers, jobs and the economy,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil.

“The RSPCA urges Agriculture Minister, Senator Ludwig, to take heed of the concerns of his colleagues, who are rightly questioning the merits of exporting live animals for slaughter.

“Live export is not critical to the Australian economy; in fact sheep meat exports to the Middle East were worth $110 million more than live sheep exports to the region last year. Australia’s broader meat trade internationally is worth seven times more than live exports.

“Australia sends Halal-certified meat to every country we export live animals to and the Middle East is now Australia’s largest export market for prime lamb and mutton.”

Ms Neil said two independent economic reports concluded there were better opportunities for farmers and the economy by processing sheep domestically.

“Every animal exported live for slaughter takes Australian jobs with it. The AMIEU estimates 45,000 jobs have been lost in the meat processing industry since the trade began – 1,000 in the last 12 months alone.

“It has never made sense to transport animals over thousands of kilometres just to be slaughtered at the other end but to do it at the expense of Australian jobs defies all logic.”

The Private Members Motion has been put forward by the Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin. Confirmed speakers so far include Melissa Parke, Dick Adams, Jill Hall, Kirsten Livermore and Adam Bandt.



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