*Pic: Andrew Wilkie holds up a picture of animal cruelty, in Federal Parliament during the Gillard government ...
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has condemned the Federal Government for continuing to turn a blind eye to live export breaches as sheep are illegally sold in a banned market in Kuwait notorious for its cruelty.
``It’s business as usual as the Federal Government sits on its hands while the live export industry sends Australian livestock to cruel and horrific deaths in foreign markets,’’ Mr Wilkie said. ``I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this federal government is a pack of sadists when it comes to animal welfare.’’
Animals Australia investigators have returned from Kuwait, which is preparing for its Festival of Sacrifice, with more documented breaches of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System which have been reported to the Department of Agriculture.
``We know the fate that awaits these sheep – crammed into car boots in searing temperatures and taken off to be brutally slaughtered,’’ Mr Wilkie said. ``I support Animals Australia’s call for the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to direct exporters to buy these animals back from merchants to spare them such horrible and illegal deaths.’’
Mr Wilkie said Barnaby Joyce was sacrificing the law to allow live animal export cruelty to continue unchecked. He said only last week Mr Joyce was trumpeting plans to double live cattle exports to China.
``Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce seems to rub his hands with glee at the prospect of more and more exports, even though many of those animals will be subject to cruelty or at least sent to places where there are no safeguards in place to ensure they’re not treated in a cruel way,’’ he said.
• John Bignell, Thorpe Farm, in Comments: I’m with you on this one Andrew Wilkie and Animals Australia. Although Middle East live exports of sheep out of Tasmania have long since ceased, I made the choice about 30 years ago to opt-out of the trade for the very reasons you highlight. This was at a time when the price differential was significant. Like $10 or $20 locally, compared to about $100 live export. I think most of the live sheep exports are out of WA and I doubt that any such price premium exists now.