Turnbull Government turns blind eye to animal welfare concerns

A leaked letter  today reveals the Turnbull Government has turned a deliberate blind eye to animal welfare warnings in the live export industry.

The Coalition Government has:

  • Ignored both industry and animal welfare group warnings of systemic failure;
  • Delayed the review of the Australian Standards for Livestock Export (ASEL);
  • Rejected Labor’s commitment for a review of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS);
  • Abolished Labor’s Inspector General of Animal Welfare;
  • Rejected Labor’s proposal for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare;
  • Rejected regular Ministerial reports to Parliament on investigations into reported breaches;
  • Abolished the Australia Animal Welfare Advisory Committee;
  • De-funded the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy;
  • Abolished the Animal Welfare Unit within the Department of Agriculture; and
  • Allowed exemptions from animal welfare standards without review and sun-setting clauses.

Ongoing reform and strengthening oversight in the live export sector came to a halt when the Abbott/Turnbull Government was elected.  

When Labor announced its 6 Point Plan for Animal Welfare during the 2016 Election Campaign, Barnaby Joyce reacted with condemnation and declared a link between Labor’s 2011 live export suspension and asylum seeker arrivals. 

Belatedly, the Turnbull  Government has commissioned four reviews into the regulation of the industry, but the timeframe on some of these mean they will not be complete until after the next election.

Labor repeats its call for sheep exports to be suspended until the review into the northern summer trade is complete.

The Turnbull Government must do at least four additional things today:

  1. Appoint an Interim Inspector General of Animal Welfare;
  2. Bring the belated ASEL Review forward (currently not due to report until mid-2019);
  3. Relace Barnaby Joyce’s hand-picked ASEL Review Chair (former Liberal Senator Chris Back) with someone truly independent; and
  4. Embrace Labor’s commitment to an Australian Meat Industry Plan to increase value-adding in Australia and to employ more Australians

The time for talk is past.  

It’s time to take real action to address animal welfare concerns; rebuild community trust in the red meat sector; and to grow value and jobs here in Australia.


Showing 12 reactions

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  • Sharon Wilson
    commented 2018-05-06 14:38:59 +1000
    Sarah Avery I totally agree hopefully Labor is not full of it because the Australian public is all over this issue and it needs to be fixed and fixed for good!!
  • Sarah Avery
    commented 2018-05-06 12:19:19 +1000
    It’s great that Labor are committing to take action to address animal welfare issues but you need to commit to work to end live export altogether, for ALL animals to ALL countries; to commit to put CCTV cameras in our Australian abbatoirs; and to commit to elect truly independent observers of this footage to make a REAL difference to how Australia address animal welfare.
  • Celia Clarke
    commented 2018-05-03 20:05:10 +1000
    Many of us here in the UK have been following this story/horrible state of affairs. No doubt there is also some international concern too. SHAME ON THE TURNBULL GOVT.
  • Sharon Wilson
    commented 2018-05-03 13:14:51 +1000
    I’m infuriated that these ships haven’t been stopped while this so called review is taking place.Its not enough that the review is being done by a known buddy of the export industry that is totally preposterous everything about this stinks to high heaven. Corruption, Corruption, Corruption and everybody knows it..Time for them to start packing their bags and give the job to someone that can do the job right,there is a pre requisite to a politicians job and that is listen to the people which this mob is not doing!!!!!BAN LIVE EXPORTS FOR GOOD!!!!
  • Derek Hanley
    commented 2018-05-03 11:26:15 +1000
    I am not waiting for a review or any other Band Aid solution. Those involved in this trade are relying on the 24 hour news cycle so people will soon forget.
    Those involved in this industry have no morals. I will not forget.
  • Wendy Beadle
    commented 2018-05-03 09:24:21 +1000
    We all know what needs to happen. What a shame the elections are not closer, maybe then we’d get some action. Talk is cheep, but at least some MPs are talking which is better than ignoring this terrible situation. The simple answer is to STOP LIVE EXPORT now, and introduce a more humane meat export industry. Win/Win for those poor animals, farmers, exporters and those money grabbing a…holes.
  • Jennifer Macdougall
    commented 2018-05-02 23:30:58 +1000
    Shows how Barnaby Joyce and Abbott tried to shut down the animal welfare issue.. Now the cat is right out of the bag. I have just analysed the Reports to Govt of mortalities on sheep shipments over the past ten years. 204,500 sheep died, 99967 in the cooler months of the year shipments, and 144,729 in the northern summer months. 49 shipments out of 60 with death tolls in excess of 800 were in that northern summer period. Clearly as a first step to ending the trade the shipment into the northern summer must end as the suffering of sheep on those shipments is now there for all to see, not just the ones that die, but the whole lot . As for Mr Daws of Emanuel Exports saying no one to blame as it was a catastrophic weather event, that is to deny the truth. The footage we saw was over several shipments and is the norm. And why did no one step in to help those sheep smothering in their own muck and how does he explain that his company was just having a repeat of what happened one year before when another 2 000 plus died in the same way. All the company got from the regulator was a slap on the wrist and told to improve things, so more of the same a year later and Emanuels has a shocking record of deaths on its ships. Enough is enough, this cruelty has gone on for decades with millions of animals now dead on ships. And Emanuel Exports should be put right out of business.
  • Luan Danaan
    commented 2018-05-02 22:09:25 +1000
    It is clear the current Coalition federal government is beholden to vested interests that will continue to sacrifdice animals to the drive for profits. We must maintain pressure and protests at many levels, on many fronts, so that this won’t be just a temporary reaction of horrified public opinion. The animals need us to remember them. What kind of country are we that ‘leaders’ endorse and ignore such horrendous suffering and cruelty?
  • Danielle Radomyski
    commented 2018-05-02 21:06:19 +1000
    This is about so much more than just animal welfare- amongst other things it’s about how the people we elect to govern us & our country hear us & whether they exercise their power, which we gave them, to support our values for life & living beings. We see our Government is being made a mockery of, is being manipulated & is embarrassing us but most of all is failing to represent us! When that happens we must change our vote. Don’t make excuses, don’t be afraid, change your vote! google ‘revolution’- WE are Australia – they are just our elected reps!
  • Anonymous
    commented 2018-05-02 15:56:36 +1000
    Both parties are running for cover hoping that the public will forget this cruel trade BUT now the unions MUST come on board as it was back in the eighties when they have the guts to stop this bloody inhumane trade and the carriers were charged and went to court in Melbourne So unions stop these killing ships from leaving the ports NOW
  • Sharon Wilson
    commented 2018-05-02 15:33:42 +1000
    Well we all know that Mr Turnbull is turning a blind eye as we have heard nothing from that coward.This issue is not going away and he better start giving the Australian public some decent answers what sort of PM ignores the people that voted him in for gods sake.well he’s going to regret this because people are going to vote with there feet bye bye Mr Turnbull and good riddens to you and your party BAN LIVE EXPORT FOR GOOD !!! Its a lawless cruel industry and must go!!!
  • Anonymous
    commented 2018-05-02 15:31:48 +1000
    This group is just as bad as the other We will not be voting for labour if they do not address this bloody cruelty