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The RSPCA is urging Prime Minister Tony Abbott not to use animal welfare as a bargaining chip in his discussions with the Indonesian government next week.

Following the live cattle export horrors exposed in 2011, the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) was implemented to provide minimal animal welfare safeguards in importing countries – it is vital this system is maintained.

“Images of horrific treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesian abattoirs are burned into the minds of the Australian public – our animals must never suffer like that again,” said Mrs Lynne Bradshaw, RSPCA Australia President.

ESCAS requires Indonesian abattoirs to be audited against international guidelines before animals can be exported.

“Mr Abbott must remember that this system was put in place for a very good reason and animal welfare needs to remain a priority as long as the live export trade continues.”

Newly appointed Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce echoed the nation’s sentiments back in 2011 when his reaction to the footage was ‘one of horror, one of disgust’. 

“Any dilution of ESCAS would put animals at risk.  Whilst ever we export animals for slaughter, it’s imperative that these minimum standards are maintained,” said Mrs Bradshaw. 

Media contact: Elise Meakin, 0419 748 907, emeakin@rspca.org.au.

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