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RSPCA Australia says last night’s TV broadcast of the sledgehammering of Australian cattle in an unapproved Vietnamese abattoir should focus on the welfare of the estimated 311,000 cattle which end up in that country each year.

RSPCA’s Chief Science and Strategy Officer, Dr Bidda Jones, said the picture of a terrified animal being beaten with a sledgehammer would be repeated in slaughterhouses in Vietnam every day.

“Sledgehammering of cattle to kill them is a widespread practice in Vietnam, and it has been well known to the Australian Government and live exporters since the start of exports to Vietnam 5 years ago”.

“This is a huge animal welfare crisis, and, for this reason, RSPCA Australia, as Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation, must be included in the independent panel the industry will set up to review the trade, announced today by the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC)”.

“RSPCA Australia is calling on the Government to immediately suspend live exports to Vietnam until the security of supply chains are watertight”.

“We called on the live export industry to voluntarily suspend the trade to Vietnam more than 12 months ago.  Nothing happened”.

“We have learnt this morning that this situation is far worse than we had imagined. An astounding 89 abattoirs were approved last year, and we have learned this morning that there are close to 200 facilities that are approved to receive Australian cattle”.

“There is absolutely no way that the Australian Government and live export industry can ensure that the practices meet requirements in so many facilities.  There are now more abattoirs in Vietnam than there are in Australia”.

“ALEC says it will voluntarily suspend just three facilities.  However, the Australian Government, as the regulator, is the only authority which has the power to suspend facilities and exports”.

“The only way to prevent these abuses of the system is to move from a live animal trade to a frozen and chilled meat trade”, Dr Jones said.

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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