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Activists Dispute Government Report Claiming Australian Animals Are Treated Humanely in Live Export Trade

January 27, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

Each year, Australia loads millions of live sheep and cattle onto ships and exports them to countries in the Middle East and Asia that have few, if any, laws governing the humane treatment of animals. Because undercover investigations conducted over the years have consistently exposed atrocities during every leg of the journey, activists are working to eliminate live exports altogether.

In response to mounting anger among members of the public, the Australian government rolled out a set of “welfare” regulations in 2011 to protect exported animals – the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Program (ESCAS). Activists say that Australia simply cannot protect animals once they are unloaded from the ships, and they have ample documentation taken in destination countries to demonstrate that ESCAS does not work.

This week, the Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce stated that a review of ESCAS “demonstrates that Australian livestock exported overseas are treated humanely in almost every instance.” Donny Moss of TheirTurn.net speaks to Australian activist Tanya Hardy about this claim, the reality and where activists go from here.

Your Turn

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


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Attack on Camel Caught on Video

December 1, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

A live export company in Australia, already under investigation for egregious animal abuses, has been caught on camera attacking a camel who was unable to climb a steep ramp onto a transport ship.

Photo: Animals Australia

Photo: Animals Australia

Animals Australia, a group that has conducted many undercover investigations exposing live export atrocities, released the footage of a worker affiliated with Livestock Shipping Services illegally using an electric prod on the struggling camel.

At a time when opposition to live exports has reached a fever pitch due to the extreme abuse exposed in undercover investigations, the Australian government should be eliminating the trade altogether. Instead, it is working to expand the live exports and is in the midst of finalizing a deal to ship up to one million cattle per year to China.

Photo: Animals Australia

Australian sheep in Kuwait for home sacrifice (Photo: Animals Australia)

Activists in Australia face many daunting challenges in their campaign to end live exports. Both major political parties support the trade; the major TV networks rarely air the damning footage; and the powerful industry makes arguments that resonate with the public — that the farmers “love” their animals; that the abuses exposed are rare; and that middle-class jobs would be lost if live exports would be eliminated.

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Until live exports are eliminated, people who advocate on behalf of animals will echo the words of Australian activist Simon Whitehouse: “There is no excuse for animal abuse. No matter how much money is involved, animals should never be subjected to the cruelty which is inherent and systemic to the Australian live export trade.”

As the number of animals exported increases, so does the number of activists. On November 30th, 700 people protested live exports in Perth, Australia.

Your Turn

Send a message to the Australian embassy in your country.

please visit Ban Live Export for more information about Australia’s grisly live export trade and to find other ways you can help.


Filed under: Food, Investigations
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Australia & China Inching Closer to Horrific Live Export Deal

November 24, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

For the past several years, Australia and China have been working on an agreement which, when signed, could lead to Australia shipping up to one million live cattle to China each year. The deal is being finalized at a time when local and international opposition to live exports has reached a fever pitch due to the extreme animal abuse exposed in undercover investigations.

TV journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell speaks to Tanya Hardy, a veteran activist in Australia, about the deal with China and the cruelty of live exports.

According to Animals Australia, “Most animals who are exported live for slaughter have their throats cut while fully conscious. Millions have died at sea. Some 30 investigations have revealed that in destination countries, many animals endure routine abuse and brutal slaughter in places where laws do not protect them from cruelty.”  Following is one of many examples of extreme suffering experienced by animals exported from Australia.

Australia’s live export controversy has not received much media attention in the U.S., but the impending $1 billion deal with China is so substantial that the New York Times wrote a story about it. At the end of the lengthy article, the Times mentions – and virtually dismisses – the humane issues, leading readers to believe that they have been adequately addressed:

“The leader of the exporters’ group, said that all animals exported from Australia were closely tracked and that there were strict regulations about their welfare before export, during shipping and even after they landed in a foreign country. The regulations were tightened after export bans were imposed after accusations of cruelty in some Indonesian slaughterhouses.”

Cattle being loaded onto ship

Cattle being loaded onto ship

Your Turn

Send a message to the Australian embassy in your country.

please visit Ban Live Export for more information about Australia’s grisly live export trade and to find other ways 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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Class Action Lawsuit Shines Spotlight on Australia’s Live Export Atrocities

November 2, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

The animals aren’t filing a class action lawsuit against the Australia government, even though they are the real victims. It is the cattle farmers who are doing it.

The Australian government is the live export industry’s most powerful ally, but cattle farmers are suing them anyway in an attempt to recoup the money they lost after a temporary live export ban to Indonesia in 2011. At that time, activists exposed abuses at Indonesian slaughterhouses that were so horrific that public pressure forced the government to take swift action.

Photo: Animals Australia

Photo: Animals Australia

Now, the farmers want the government to pay them back for their financial losses, even if it means shining yet another spotlight on the torture inflicted on their animals overseas. The class action was filed just days after Australian media stunned the country with new undercover footage of similar abuses in three Middle Eastern countries.

live export to Kuwait

The new footage, taken by Animals Australia, combined with the cattle farmers’ lawsuit have amplified the battle over live exports, and both sides are digging in their heels. After the damning footage was released, Bill Shorten, a member of Parliament and one the country’s most prominent live export supporters, said “We are seeing that it is possible for increased animal welfare to coincide with increasing export volumes. We see an industry that enjoys more public confidence because we have the best animal welfare system in the world.”

Photo: Animals Australia

Photo: Animals Australia

The ruling Labor party is also a staunch advocate and justifies live exports on the grounds that new regulations -, The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) – protect the animals by tracing them. Activists, however, say that the regulations are window dressing, as tracing millions of Australian animals from the docks where they are unloaded to their final destinations in the Middle East and Asia is impossible.

On October 30th, one of the few members of Parliament who opposes live exports said that the government protections are an “illusion.”

As the industry and government continue to defend, promote and grow live exports, protests over the past several years have reached a fever pitch.

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Sydney, 2011 (photo: James Morgan)

live export protest

Parliament building in Melbourne, 2013

Because the live export industry is protected at the highest levels of government by both major political parties, ending it is an uphill battle that will only be won when the Australian Labor Party calls for a ban. One Australian activist, who asked to remain anonymous, called for a tourist boycott: “The only thing that will get the attention of the power brokers here is money. A boycott by tourists could make a difference.”

Australia is the world’s largest exporters of live animals, sending hundreds of thousands of cattle and millions of sheep to markets in Asia and the Middle East each year.

Your Turn

Visit Animals Australia to take action.

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


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