RSPCA Australia has major concerns about Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce’s comments that a new market for Australia’s live cattle is ‘imminent’ and that live export agreements can ‘sometimes be very quick’.
“The rush to push animals into Vietnam, with 89 facilities approved in under 2 years, and the cruelty resulting from inadequate monitoring and oversight should serve as a warning to the Government and exporters,” Dr Bidda Jones, RSPCA Australia Chief Scientist, said.
“New markets must provide clear evidence of their capacity to meet animal welfare standards before any agreements are made. This should include a full and transparent audit of all facilities involved in the supply chain and an assessment of the country’s ability to comply with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System standards.
“This should never be a quick process. If it is, the Government and the industry have not done their due diligence, and cannot in all conscience send Australian animals into a market which has been developed in such haste.
“Minister Joyce’s efforts to expand live export markets are misplaced and will only serve to put animals at even more risk of unnecessary suffering.
“Rather than focussing its efforts on an industry which continually undermines Australia’s ‘clean, green’ reputation, the Government should be working to expand meat export markets with the goal of transitioning to a meat-only trade.
“This would ensure humane treatment for our animals and a stable and sustainable market for producers,” Dr Jones said.