The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has condemned the Labor Government and the Liberal-National Opposition for turning their backs on animal cruelty and voting down his Private Members Bill for a phased shut down of the live export trade.
“It escapes me how it is that neither the Government, nor the Opposition, could bring themselves to support the Bill when the serious problems with the live animal export industry are so obvious to so many of our constituents,’’ he said.
“How much more evidence does the Government and the Opposition need to see before they agree to wind up the industry?’’
The vote came as Animals Australia released new graphic footage of cattle and sheep suffering cruel and painful deaths in slaughterhouses in Turkey which kill Australian animals.
“By allowing this tortuous trade to continue, both the Government and the Opposition are condoning animal cruelty,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
“They’re as good as saying it’s OK for Australian animals to suffer unspeakable and unnecessary cruelty in overseas slaughterhouses.’’
Mr Wilkie said the Turkish footage of cattle and sheep being hoisted in the air by one leg before slaughter and botched attempts to cut their throats demonstrates again that animal cruelty is widespread in Australian live export markets and not contained to Indonesia.
“What we saw on Four Corners was not a one off, which is why the Federal Government’s response of putting out spot fires after it’s publicly embarrassed will not stop animal cruelty,’’ he said.
“Meat and Livestock Australia has failed to protect the welfare of Australian animals in Turkey just like it failed in Indonesia.
“If we’re not going to stop the trade, at the very least we need to demand Australian standards be applied right along the supply chain.’’
“While I would have preferred a ban of live export, I’m a realist and I’ll now look at a new Bill that would legislate Australian standards and mandatory stunning in foreign abattoirs that are granted permits to process Australian livestock.’’
Download the Wilkie speech to Parliament this morning: