In a ground-breaking story, a major TV news program in Australia aired undercover footage of the country’s cows and sheep being tortured in the Middle East. The footage, taken by Animals Australia, shows the animals, who were shipped to Gaza, Kuwait and Jordan, being stabbed to death in the streets, in spite of Australian regulations requiring animals to be killed in approved slaughterhouses.
In the following clip, TV journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell talks to TheirTurn’s Donny Moss in the first of many reports about Australia’s live exports.
Animal welfare groups in Australia have, for years, advocated for an outright ban on the export of live animals given the treacherous journey and virtual absence of anti-cruelty laws in the destination countries. While their practical solution – shipping frozen meat instead of live bodies – is appalling to animal rights activists, it would at least eliminate the most violent abuses committed at sea and in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
At least one country that receives live animals from Australia is fighting back. In Israel, activists are using provocative street theater to expose the horrors of live transports in an attempt to shut them down. Last year, an Israeli TV station aired damning footage taken by activists of sheep being violently unloaded from a transport ship and of of the abuses they endured prior to slaughter.
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After reading the story above, Simon Whitehouse, an animal protection advocate from Australia, sent us the following additional information about Australia’s live export trade:
“Due to the help of a sympathetic right wing government, the trade is experiencing rapid growth. The Australian Labor Party, which is the opposition to our current government, has a policy which also is pro live export. In the Australian parliament, the only existing party with a policy to end the trade is the Australian Greens, and their representation level is small. Politically, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
“The trade is not just with the Middle East, it includes many South East Asian countries, most notably Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. It also extends to such places as Russia and Mauritius. Almost all of these countries have a very poor animal welfare background. The industry is now pushing very hard to start sending animals for slaughter to Cambodia and China.”
While the footage from the Middle East could put increased pressure on Australia’s Ministry of Agriculture to curb the worst abuses, the Australian activists need our help. Please send an instant message to the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C.