Grim Reaper Julia Gillard will be at Salamanca this Saturday at 12 noon as animal advocates take to the streets and markets in as part of a National Day of Action against the live export trade. Simultaneous protests in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Hobart are protesting against the Gillard government’s lifting of the suspension of the cattle trade to Indonesia, and the live export trade as a whole. 

‘The government has set up two sham enquiries to appease public outrage’, said Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty’s Suzanne Cass. ‘In neither of the terms of reference is there provision for ending the trade, and the Senate enquiry’s Chair is Senator Heffernan, that loud-mouthed, bullying proponent of the trade. Of the others, none except Senator Siewert has any credentials in either animal welfare or economics, and four of them have only been in the Senate since July 1’.

The Senate enquiry has been slow in publishing submissions, but the overwhelming majority is calling for an end to the trade. The ‘Independent’ Farmer enquiry has over 460 submissions published, also with a large majority calling for the trade to be abolished. Some are from veterinarians with experience in the live export industry.

‘The Australian community has shown overwhelmingly that it is deeply, deeply ashamed of this government, farmers and exporters’, continued Ms Cass. ‘Even knowing that there have been no improvements in Indonesia or anywhere else, these people cannot wait to start loading up tens of thousands of hapless animals. And it’s not as if they haven’t known about this appalling abuse of animals for decade, nor is it isolated to Indonesia, and these people have been selling cattle off to Egypt where conditions will be just as bad, and sheep as far away as Turkey, where a ship caught fire in May with 73,500 WA sheep on board a long, horror journey’.

Agriculture Minister Ludwig lifted the ban on Indonesia following loud protests from,  and government handouts to, northern graziers, and is claiming that Indonesia will be encouraged to adopt OIE (international Organisation for Animal Health) Guidelines. Indonesia will not be required to comply with any guidelines at all until January 2012, and the OIE guidelines are unenforceable. do not proscribe the infamous Mark 1 slaughterboxes, the hog-tying of the animals’ legs, not do they mandate pre-stunning, meaning that the animals will be tripped and will continue to crash to concrete floors, bashing their heads in panic.

Exporters will be required to have ‘independent’ auditors of slaughterhouses, but like veterinarians, they will be employed by the exporters. No Australian official or veterinarian has been allowed into an Indonesian slaughterhouse since the ban was imposed in June.

There are two bills before the Federal Government, one from the Greens calling for an immediate end to the trade, and one from Denison member Andrew Wilkie and SA Senator Nick Xenophon calling for a phase out in three years. Both are expected t5o be defeated as the major parties follow the dictates of their party positions.

‘The vast majority of Senators involved in the Senate enquiry are from the major parties, and have only been there for four weeks. so really it is a wholly unrepresentative, undemocratic waste of taxpayers’ dollars’, said Ms Cass. The Senate enquiry is taking itself to the Northern Territory, where it will speak with graziers, but we do not expect any consultation with animals advocates’, Ms Cass concluded.

Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty