It has been over two months since ABC TV’s Lateline program presented us with yet more evidence of severe animal welfare abuses to result from Australia's involvement in the live animal export trade. What's more, such breaches of the government's new Export Supply Chain Assurance System, demonstrated all too readily that very little has changed since Four Corners aired a similar exposé in May last year.
On 13 March in the Senate, the Agriculture Minister Senator Joe Ludwig was asked by Senator Lee Rhiannon of the Greens what action his department had taken to investigate the Temur Petir and Cakung abattoirs in Jakarta following the Lateline program. The minister's response, disappointedly all too familiar in its denial and white-washing, was merely that the new assurance system provides a pathway for investigating complaints. He said the complaint had been referred to the independent regulator who would then determine a course of action following a thorough investigation. This investigation is still in process. Meanwhile, thousands of cattle continue to suffer with little assurance of improvement. The Green's Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill 2012 was then introduced into the Senate in March 22 as yet another attempt to put an end to the atrocity that is the live animal export trade. The government is yet to give an indication of when or if they will bring it up for debate. Sentient, the Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics, continues to call upon the Government to work towards a permanent end to the live animal export trade and to enforce mandatory pre-slaughter stunning during the interim. Until that time, our only ‘assurance’ is more of the same.