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RSPCA Australia has written to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader urging them to take action to suspend the live export trade to Vietnam, in the wake of shocking footage of cattle being sledgehammered to death.

The letters say that “while the live export industry may attempt to characterise these incidents as ‘isolated’, the Department of Agriculture’s own compliance reports since 2013 note supply chain breaches involving thousands of cattle. As sledgehammering is a common method of slaughter in Vietnam, it is likely that many of these cattle met a similar fate to those depicted in the “7.30” program.”

“Vietnam has more recorded non-compliances with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) than any other country. There have been 17 findings against exporters in Vietnam in the three years it has been operating under the system. This is more than double the number of recorded non-compliances in Indonesia.”

The letters call upon the leaders to suspend the trade pending a comprehensive independent review of supply chain management issues and the administration of ESCAS.

“This independent review must include an RSPCA scientific representative to ensure it is open and transparent, and considers all of the available evidence.”  

Additionally, the letters call for the transfer of regulatory responsibility for live animal exports from the Department of Agriculture to an independent regulator, free of conflicting institutional objectives.

“These measures represent the only course of action that will demonstrate to the Australian community that the Government is serious about protecting the welfare of animals sent overseas for slaughter.”

“Without such assurance, the live export trade does not have a social licence to operate and will continue to face intense public scrutiny and criticism”.

 3,000 Australians have written to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Agriculture Minister and the Shadow Agriculture Minister in less than 24 hours, as a result of RSPCA Australia’s call to action following the  “7.30” program.

 RSPCA Australia has also written to the Australian Live Exporters Council seeking access to all approved facilities in Vietnam for an independent audit.


The RSPCA is Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation and one of Australia’s most trusted charities. The RSPCA works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.

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