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The RSPCA is demanding that the Australian Government immediately act to close a glaring loophole in the live export supply chain and provide immediate protection for the tens of thousands of dairy and breeding animals being exported live every year to countries across the world.  

On ABC’s 7.30 tonight, we witnessed an extremely disturbing case of animal neglect and cruelty of Australian dairy and breeding animals in Qatar.

Of the 10,000 sheep that were exported to Qatar in February for breeding, up to 7,000 had died from malnutrition and heat stress by August.

Dairy cows exported at the same time were, by June, found to be in very poor condition, suffering from a number of illnesses and many cows and calves had died.

Another 250 pregnant dairy cows were exported to this same location in June.  Many of these animals had calved within days of their arrival, demonstrating a serious breach of the Australian Standards for Exported Livestock (ASEL).  

The RSPCA says the live export industry and the government have yet again failed Australian animals.  They have ignored warnings about the fate of breeder animals and have no system in place to ensure that overseas facilities have the capacity to care for these animals adequately.

“Australia’s live exporters should hang their heads in shame. Yet again they have sent Australian animals into totally unacceptable conditions overseas,” said RSPCA Australia CEO, Heather Neil.

“Once more it has been shown how the live export industry cannot be trusted.”

“The Farmer review of the live export trade initiated by the Government following ABC Four Corners, presumed that because breeder animals are more expensive that they will be treated better than slaughter animals. But this evidence clearly shows that’s not the case.

“Australian producers will again be horrified that the animals that they have raised and cared for have been treated so badly.

“Australia’s exported dairy and breeding livestock are our forgotten animals.  Despite being some of the most vulnerable animals to export, once they get off a ship, they have absolutely no protection”, said Ms Neil.

The RSPCA is calling on the Government to introduce requirements similar to the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) that was introduced for the export of slaughter animals, to ensure that any animal exported from Australia, for breeding or otherwise, will be treated humanely.

“No animal should be sent overseas for breeding or dairy purposes unless the facility they’re going to has the capacity to care for them. What we have seen in Qatar is gross animal neglect, something that could have been avoided had appropriate Government regulation been in place.”

“Nearly 30,000 dairy cows and thousands of sheep and cattle have been sent to countries all around the world this year alone – we have no way of knowing if Australian animals elsewhere are also suffering in similar conditions.

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