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Atrocities Exposed in Secret Investigations Trigger Parliament Members To Condemn Live Exports

June 16, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

With an onslaught of videos exposing shocking abuses of Australian cattle, sheep and other animals shipped to foreign countries for slaughter, the campaign to ban live exports from Australia has reached a tipping point. And Members of Parliament (MPs) are finally speaking out:

“How many more exposés do we need before the government finally acts decisively to outlaw this vile trade?” – Andrew Wilkie, MP

“It seems there is no fate too cruel for Australian animals that would cause this government to pause.” – Melissa Parke, MP

“This abuse simply cannot continue to occur. My electorate has had enough. And so have I.” – Michelle Rowland, MP

The long-awaited criticism from elected officials comes on the heels of new undercover investigations in Vietnam and Israel, two of the 19 countries to which Australia ships over three million live animals for slaughter each year.

In May, Animals Australia documented workers in Vietnam using sledgehammers to kill Australian cattle. The footage is so “shocking” and “distressing” that the organization decided not to release it.

Vietnamese workers slaughter Australian cattle with sledgehammers

Vietnamese workers slaughter Australian cattle with sledgehammers

In spite of the live export industry’s own admission that they cannot track the animals once they arrive in Vietnam, the Australian government has continued to allow weekly shipments.

Just three weeks after exposing the atrocities in Vietnam, Animals Australia released footage of workers in Israel slitting the throats of Australian cattle while they were still conscious and then hanging them upside down. The footage, which also shows workers dragging cattle by their legs and tails, prompted Israeli authorities to shut down the slaughterhouse, the largest in Israel.

Advocates argue that ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System), a program introduced in 2011 to protect Australian animals shipped abroad for slaughter, does not – and cannot – work, as tracking millions of animals once they arrive in foreign countries is logistically impossible.

Live sheep exported from Australia

Live sheep exported from Australia

In fact, Australian authorities cannot even protect animals in the slaughterhouses that have their stamp of approval, as evidenced in the most recent undercover investigation in Israel.

Israel's largest slaughterhouse, which had the stamp of approval by Australian authorities, was shut down after Animals Australia released footage of cattle being tortured during the slaughter process.

Israel’s largest slaughterhouse, which had the stamp of approval by Australian authorities, was shut down after Animals Australia released footage of cattle being tortured

In spite of mounting evidence demonstrating the failure of ESCAS, Australia’s Agricultural Minister, Barnaby Joyce, continues to defend and even promote it, describing it as a “model” welfare program that other countries should emulate. But his remarks are beginning to wear thin with Members of Parliament, who have received an onslaught of calls from constituents in recent years.

“To the people who have taken the time to contact me about this, I want to say that your activism is really having an impact,” -Clare O’Neil, MP

“Constituents are contacting my office in astonishing numbers.” – Adam Bandt, MP

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Had Animals Australia not sent undercover investigators into Vietnam and Israel, the abuses would have never been exposed. Footage from these and 33 other investigations demonstrates that ESCAS cannot protect animals, even in countries that have legal protections in place for them.

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

In Australia’s live export trade, abuse is not limited just to the countries where the animals are shipped. During the overseas journeys, which can last up to several weeks, animals get sick and die in their cramped spaces on the ships. According to Animals Australia, millions of animals have died during transport.

Photo: Animals Australia

Live export ships can transport tens of thousands of animals in cramped spaces (photo: Animals Australia)

Live export of sheep from Australia to the Middle East and Asia

Australian sheep are unloaded from a transport ship in the Middle East

In recent years, the fight to ban Australia’s live export trade has gone global. On April 15th, animal rights activists in the United States staged a protest at the Australian consulate in Los Angeles. The organizer, Loretta Smalls, said it was “a show of solidarity with thousands of our Australian brothers and sisters who are fighting to ban the horrific practice.” In Israel, the group Against Live Transports has employed street theater to educate the public as part of its growing campaign to outlaw the importation of live animals from Australia.

Israeli activists as animals

Israeli activists use street theater to protest the importation of live animals from Australia

Your Turn

To find out how you can help end the live export trade, please visit Animals Australia.


Filed under: Food, Investigations
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Americans To Protest Australia’s “Horrific” Live Export Trade

March 28, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

For the first time ever, U.S. animal rights activists are staging a protest against Australia’s live export trade. The organizer, Loretta Smalls, says it’s “a show of solidarity with thousands of our Australian brothers and sisters who are fighting to ban the horrific practice.” The protest will take place at the Australian consulate in Los Angeles on April 15th.

U.S. Animal Rights Activists To Protest Australia's "horrific" Live Export Trade

U.S. animal rights activists to protest Australia’s “horrific” live export trade in Los Angeles on 4/15

Each year, Australia ships millions of live sheep, cattle and goats to countries in the Middle East and Asia where they are slaughtered for meat. Footage taken during more than 30 investigations conducted by Animals Australia demonstrates that many of the animals who are exported endure “routine abuse” and “brutal slaughter” in countries that have few, if any, protections in place for animals. In addition, millions of animals have died on the ships during the treacherous overseas journeys.

For the Australian activists, the U.S. protest can’t come soon enough. “We need all the international support that we can get,” said Sue Clarke, an activist in Brisbane, Australia. “In spite of growing public demand to end live exports, our government is working to expand them.” In fact, Australia is finalizing plans to ship an estimated one million cattle to China each year. If the $1 billion deal is signed, the number of cattle exported would double from its current levels.

live export cows

Cows being unloaded from a live transport ship

As the government works to increase the number of animals exported, it is also reducing the amount of oversight, which, according to Australian activists, is already wholly inadequate. Starting on April 1st, the Department of Agriculture will decrease by 30% the number of audits of unloading docks, feedlots, slaughterhouses and other live export facilities.

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Protests against the live export trade across Australia attract hundreds of people, but the government is unmoved by the public backlash and the graphic videos that have triggered it. In fact, Australia’s Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce stated in late January that a review of the government’s oversight program “demonstrates that Australian livestock exported overseas are treated humanely in almost every instance.”

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Of all of the countries in Asia and the Middle East that receive live exports from Australia, only Israel has a community of local activists who are working to stop them. According to the Israeli group Against Live Transports, about 200,000 sheep and cattle are shipped each year from Australia to Israel. The entire trip from the feedlots in Australia to the slaughterhouses in Israel is treacherous for the animals, but the activists call particular attention to the one leg of the journey for which they have the most documentation – the unloading of the animals. On April 8th, dozens of Israeli activists are traveling to the port city of Eilat to protest the arrival of a transport ship from Australia.

Israeli activists protesting live animal exports

Animal rights activists with Against Live Transports use street theater to educate the public about live export cruelty (photo: Against Live Transports)

Israel_live_export_protest

Live export protest in Eilat, Israel on April 8th. Translation: Stop the Horror (photo: Against Live Transports)

The U.S. and Israel are not the only countries to protest Australia’s live export trade. Activists in the Czech Republic, Greece and Egypt have also demonstrated in solidarity with Australian activists — while activists in England battle their own country’s live animal exports.

live export protest in the Czech Republic

Activists with 269Life in the Czech Republic protest Australia’s live exports

Your Turn

If you live in or near Los Angeles, please participate in the protest against Australia on April 15th.

Please visit Stop Live Exports and Animals Australia’s Ban Live Export initiative to learn more about live exports and find out how you can help.


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Australia To Double Number of Live Cattle Exported

November 9, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

In defiance of growing public demand to end live exports due to animal cruelty, Australia plans to significantly expand the trade by shipping an estimated one million cattle to China each year. If the $1 billion deal is signed, the number of cattle exported to countries in Asia and the Middle East would double from its current levels.

live export cows

Andrew Wilkie, one of the few members of the Australian Parliament who publicly opposes live exports, described the new deal with China as a “dreadful development” and that the federal government is “a pack of sadists when it comes to animal welfare.”

Photo: Animals Australia

Photo: Animals Australia

The agreement with China comes just two weeks after Australian media aired footage of Australian cows and sheep being tortured in several countries where the group Animals Australia stationed undercover investigators. While the damning footage once again angered the Australian public, it did not have the effect of curbing the booming live export industry.

Live export supporters, including the Australian government, insist that the incidents documented in undercover videos are the exception. Opponents, on the other hand, say that abuses are routine and that Australia’s regulations fail to protect the animals in countries that have few, if any, animal protection laws. They also argue that the millions of sheep and cattle exported annually from Australia cannot be tracked to their final destinations within the countries to which they are shipped.

live-export-sheep

Unloaded from live export ship

Of all of the countries where Australia ships live animals, only one of them has citizens who are attempting to stop it — Israel. Over the past couple of years, Israeli activists have taken undercover footage which has aired on national television, and they have used street theater to educate the public about the cruelty both on the transport ships and within the country after the animals are unloaded.

Photo: ישראל נגד משלוחים חיים (Against Live Transports)

Photo: ישראל נגד משלוחים חיים (Against Live Transports)

Photo: Against Live Transports

Photo:  Against Live Transports

Your Turn

Send an instant message to the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Visit Animals Australia to take action.

Tourist dollars are vital to Australia’s economy. Until live exports are terminated, boycott Australia.


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Israeli Activists Use Street Theater to Shine Spotlight on Hidden Abuse

October 20, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Using provocative street theater, a determined group of Israeli activists is attempting to shut down one of the world’s most extreme, but under the radar, forms of animal abuse: live transports. According to the activist group, Against Live Transports, about 200,000 sheep and cattle are shipped each year from Australia to Israel. The entire 7,600 mile journey is treacherous, but the activists are calling attention to the one part for which they have the most documentation – the unloading of the animals.

live-export-ship

The ships hold up to 30,000 live animals

Photo: Against Live Transport

Photo: Against Live Transports

Usually in the dark of night to avoid public exposure, workers force frantic cows and sheep, who are weak from the long journey, down the ramps by kicking, punching and electrically prodding them.

Photo: Against Live Trasports

Photo: Against Live Transports

Israeli activists as animals

Photo: Against Live Transports

The activists’ efforts are having an impact. A local TV station aired a story not only about the unloading of the animals but also about the treacherous aftermath, when they are abused on farms before being slaughtered.

In addition to engaging in street theater, Against Animal Transports is “working on many other avenues, legal and political” to end the Australian exports. On those efforts, the group is collaborating with Let the Animals Live and Anonymous For Animal Rights.

Your Turn

Please sign the Change.org petition to end all live shipments to Eilat, a tourist city in Israel.


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