Image for Wilkie applauds ‘first step’

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has applauded the Federal Government for suspending live cattle exports to Indonesia.

``This is a win for decency and a good first step to permanently ending the sickening cruelty inflicted on Australian livestock being shipped overseas,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

``The Australian public has said loud and clear that it will not tolerate Australian livestock being shipped to such dreadful deaths and I congratulate the Government for hearing the message and acting.’’

Mr Wilkie and Nick Xenophon, the Independent Senator for South Australia, will push ahead and introduce a Bill on Monday June 20 to end the live export of animals for slaughter to all countries in three years.

``While I applaud the Federal Government for suspending the live export of cattle to Indonesia, it is only a first step,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

``We now need to be sure appropriate safeguards are in place before the trade resumes and to wind it up completely as soon as practicable.

``Time and time again, Australians have witnessed unspeakable cruelty to Australian animals shipped overseas and it’s time the cruel trade was banned.’’

Mr Wilkie was briefed by the Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig this morning and said he looked forward to the Federal Government working co-operatively to progress his Live Animal Export Restriction and Prohibition Bill.

``Not only will this Bill ban live export in three years, it will also legislate safeguards so when the trade temporarily resumes, Australians can be satisfied that the animals are being treated in a humane way,’’ he said.

Mr Wilkie congratulated Animals Australia and the RSPCA for exposing the cruelty in Indonesian slaughterhouses and vowed to keep working with the groups to put an end to live animal exports.