RSPCA Australia is strongly urging the Federal Government to reconsider its decision to send live cattle to China.
“Today is a dark day for Australian cattle, this decision will see tens of thousands of Aussie animals face export to China to be slaughtered in facilities that don’t meet the same high standards as Australian abattoirs,” Dr Bidda Jones, RSPCA Australia Chief Scientist said.
“China has a shocking track record for its treatment of animals and has been given one of the lowest possible scores on the World Animal Protection’s international Animal Protection Index.
“The Australian meat processing industry is a trade leader in animal welfare so why would we send animals thousands of miles on sea journeys of up to 25 days to be slaughtered in facilities that do not meet these same high standards?” questioned Dr Jones.
“Opening up live exports to China will parasitise the meat processing sector. There are a finite number of cattle in Australia and this deal will result in a reduction in our more valuable and high welfare meat export market.
“The meat trade is worth seven times more per annum than live exports to Australia; this is where the Government should be focusing expansion.
“Arguments used by the Government to justify live exports in other markets don’t stack up in China; there are no cultural or religious reasons to export animals live to China, and as China is already Australia’s biggest customer for agricultural products there’s certainly no food security issues.
“China is already a major importer of Australian meat, we’re urging the Minister to focus on this industry rather than putting the welfare of more Australian animals at risk,” Dr Jones said.