Minister Littleproud should make a statement to the Parliament about television footage of Australian dairy cow deaths and suffering in Sri Lanka to reassure the community that animal welfare standards are being enforced.
Export programs which help build international relationships and build self-sufficiency in developing nations continue to be undermined by the Morrison Government’s poor oversight and regulation.
Surprisingly, the Dairy Cow Program was made possible by a facility provided by the Export Finance Insurance Corporation.
There are questions about whether the breed of dairy cow being exported is capable of thriving in the climatic conditions in Sri Lanka.
Further, it appears that in-country extension services in Sri Lanka have been wanting.
The Sri Lanka incident has also highlighted a gap in the regulatory regime which offers no assurances on animal welfare for the export of non-slaughter animals. A Shorten Labor Government will address that gap.
We will also review the powers in the relevant legislation which currently denies the Regulator any power to test the likely welfare outcomes of non-slaughter live animals in export markets when issuing an export permit.
Despite Minister Littleproud’s huffing and puffing, it is clear the Morrison Government is still not taking animal welfare issues seriously. The Government’s inaction is letting our producers down and raising community concerns.
Only around fifty per cent of the dairy cow supply contract has so far been filled.
Minister Littleproud has an opportunity today to provide assurances that events in Sri Lanka are being taken seriously and that shortcomings in the regulatory system will be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Strong Government leadership and a strong regulatory regime are critical to the ongoing success of the live cattle trade.
A Shorten Labor Government will provide that leadership and uphold science-based animal welfare standards.