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Cheap Third World Labor Fuels Australia’s Notorious Live Export Trade

July 19, 2016 by Leave a Comment

The News

Harrowing footage of Australian cattle being slaughtered in Vietnam has shined a global spotlight on Australia’s notorious “live export” trade. The footage, released by Animals Australia, shows restrained cows being bludgeoned with sledgehammers as they frantically attempt to avoid the blows meant to smash their skulls. The footage has triggered a public discussion and debate about the rationale for exporting live animals instead refrigerated meat from animals slaughtered in Australia.

Live export companies claim that  animals must be exported live because refrigeration in the countries to which they are shipped is inadequate. According to advocates, however, that rationale is dubious. A Cambodian company called SLN Meat Supplies, which recently imported almost 3,000 Australian cattle, stated that it plans to store and eventually export the meat of those animals to China, Vietnam and Japan. According to SLN, refrigeration will be used in the process. SLN is one of many companies that imports live animals, slaughters them and then exports the refrigerated meat to other countries.

Live export companies claim that live exports are necessary due to lack of refrigeration in the importing companies despite those countries refrigerating the meat and exporting it.

Live export companies falsely claim that exporting animals while they are alive is  necessary due to lack of refrigeration in the importing companies.

Simon Whitehouse of Live Export – GlobalVoice4Animals has a different theory about why Australian companies export live animals instead of slaughtering them locally:  “large profits [made] through the exploitation of grossly underpaid, third world labor.”  Cheap third world labor fuels the live export trade in many ways.

Slaughterhouse workers in poor countries are paid much less than those in more wealthy countries. A Cambodian slaughterhouse worker, for instance, receives about 1/200 the salary of an Australian worker. Since the wholesale price of beef in poor countries is about the same as it is in wealthy countries, the lower wages lead to a greater profit margin for the companies that import live animals. In some cases, live export companies partially or fully own the importing companies, so slaughtering the animals where labor is cheaper increases their profit margins. When live export companies earn higher profits, they offer ranchers more money for their animals. Cheap third world labor therefore affects the live export trade at virtually every step in the supply chain. “Without that cheap labor source, there would be no live export trade” says Mr. Whitehouse.
Exported Australian cow being slaughtered.

Exported Australian cow being slaughtered.

 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 these animals endure “routine abuse” and “brutal slaughter” in countries that have few, if any, protections in place. In addition, millions of animals have died on the ships during the treacherous overseas journeys during which are intensively confined and deprived of their basic needs.
Live exports are notorious for animal cruelty.

Australia’s notorious live export industry

Your Turn

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

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Jenifer GREIG says:

    Absolutely vile. This practice is positively evil and the Aus govt must be held accountable and cease this horrific practice immediately without question.

  2. denise ketchum says:

    for the love of god end this now!

  3. Joan Sadler says:

    Australia should hang its head in shame….it is an abhorrently cruel industry which should be outlawed. It’s all about the almighty dollar and throw away the book of ethical treatment of animals. It is absolutely disgusting and if there is such a thing as reincarnation, then the people involved in the trade had better hope they do not return as livestock bred for this industry !!

  4. Helen clarke says:

    This is is again humans taking animal’s lifes with no regards for their wellbeing. Total exploitation. They have feeling .nurture their your.they are abused to the very start of their pitiful lifes, and to the end.shame on you Australia you are truly horrible.

  5. Tony Carrow says:

    Good to read a balanced article. Yes Live Export is a disgrace. The time to end it was yesterday. It belongs in the dark ages.

  6. diane kelly says:

    This is absolutely heart renderin. What is this world coming to cruelty is not even close to how these animsals are faced with. Australian government step up and stop sending your live stock to these countries

  7. The Abhorrent Australian Live Animal Export Trade is to be abolished Immediately.
    Please circulate

    Australian Monarch

  8. Ingeborg EINIS says:

    This whole business is unacceptable, fight it!!!

  9. Larry Trepel says:

    Truly a disgusting situation when animal rights defenders have to argue that they should be murdered in their own country rather than face an even more horrific situation traveling on slave ships and facing even more barbaric slaughter. Is this the best the world can offer these animals?

  10. Val Kerry says:

    This is evil & barbaric to treat any liveing creature this way ! They don,t have a very long life ! So WHY CAN<T THEY HAVE A HUMAIN DEATH

  11. How would humans like to be these animals there is no justification in saving money when you spend absolutely nothing on them to go in peace. Who makes these decision cause I am sure it is not the citizens who pay taxes. So much bloody corruption in the world you all should be ashamed of yourselves putting massive profits in front of inhumane slaughter.

  12. Jennifer says:

    This is so sickening and cruel I can not believe how anyone could possibly support such practise. Shame new Zealand

    1. Simon Whitehouse says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      This article is about the Australian live export trade. New Zealand has a prohibition on the live export of animals for slaughter. It is far from perfect, but it is streets ahead of Australia.

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