On October 23, 2014, Jill Hall, MP, Federal Member for Shortland, and Kelvin Thomson MP, Federal Member for Wills, voiced their outrage at the sickening cruelty to Australian animals in Gaza, Jordan and Kuwait could have been avoided if the Agriculture Department had acted on the massive catalogue of evidence they've been presented with over the past year.
Their joint media release pointed out that export company Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) is yet again implicated in this cruelty. LSS is actually written on eartags of Australian bulls in Gaza. Australian bulls in Gaza are being stabbed to death while fully conscious. LSS is the same company responsible for regulatory breaches in Gaza last year, and implicated in regulatory breaches in Jordan.
It is a disgrace that the Department can "investigate" these breaches indefinitely and take no action. It makes a laughing stock of claims by the government and the industry that the ESCAS system is working. The ESCAS system is supposed to make exporters accountable for the fate of the animals. It is doing nothing of the kind. The government is overseeing a regulatory system which is failing in its core mission to protect Australian animals from brutal treatment.
The Agriculture Department Secretary should not give a permit to the LSS ship Maysora, currently docked in Adelaide, to take cattle and sheep to the Middle East. The Secretary could not possibly be satisfied that this exporter has an appropriate compliance record, or that no animals will be subjected to animal cruelty.
Meat and Livestock Australia should be required to report breaches immediately to the Department rather than tip off the exporters.
The export companies responsible for these outrages should have their licences to operate suspended while they are under investigation, and breaches of the ESCAS should result in prosecution. Until real penalties are handed out nothing is going to change.
The Agriculture Minister said last year 'you don't shut the road if someone speeds'. Indeed, but you do take the licence off repeat offenders.