On Saturday the Department of Agriculture suspended exports of live sheep to an abattoir in Qatar. Labor understands it did so after viewing vision of animal cruelty provided by advocacy group Animals Australia.
The Qatar suspension further highlights the need to restore Labor’s independent Inspector General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports, a position abolished by Barnaby Joyce.
An Inspector General is required no matter which political party is in government to provide independent oversight. But the positon is even more critical when Ministers like Barnaby Joyce promote such a poor culture in the Department.
It is clear the Department has been unable to effectively regulate the live export sector over the course of the last twelve months. Its reliance on information from activist groups confirms its failures.
The Inspector General will have wide-ranging powers to ensure the regulator is doing its job properly and to design and oversee strategies to improve the regulator’s effectiveness.
Under a Labor Government, the Inspector General will also lead the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare to provide the resources necessary to meet community expectations on animal welfare issues.
Labor remains willing to work with the Turnbull Government in establishing new rules and standards in the live export trade but the outcome must include an independent cop on the beat.