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Australian News Airs Damning Undercover Footage of Live Exports

October 23, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

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.

Photo: Against Live Transports

Photo: Against Live Transports

News & Opinion

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.”

Your Turn

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.


Filed under: Food, Investigations
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Australia to Resume Live Animal Exports to Iran

May 29, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Australia is set to resume the export of sheep and cattle to Iran after a 30-year ban. Hundreds of thousands of animals are already exported by boat to the Middle East each year, but the industry experienced a financial set back when exports to Indonesia were temporarily banned in 2011 after Australian TV aired graphic footage “showing brutal treatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs.” Regarding the resumption of exports to Iran, Australian lawmaker Andrew Wilkie said, “That is just appalling news. The fact is that the live-animal export trade is systemically cruel.” In 2011, thousands of people around the country marched against live animal exports.

News & Opinion

According to the animal rights group 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.” For more information and to find out how you can help, please visit Ban Live Export.

Filed under: Food
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