Parliamentary report recommends alternatives to live exports
To end the cruel export of live cattle overseas, World Animal Protection has been arguing for better infrastructure in northern Australia to support a transition to a more humane trade in chilled and frozen meat exports. It seems the argument is gaining ground.
In its recent report on options and issues for the development of northern Australia, a joint select committee of the Parliament recommends that the Australian Government, in conjunction with the Queensland Government, investigate the construction of an abattoir in North Queensland with a view to facilitating private sector investment at the earliest possible date. It notes that “the construction of abattoirs in the Kimberley and Darwin demonstrate the advantage of having access to local meat processing facilities to provide a market for animals not suitable for live export and opens up alternatives to live export” and that “the presence of an abattoir would significantly reduce transport costs and stress on animals….”.
This is very significant. For the first time in many years there is acknowledgement by a Parliamentary committee, comprising representatives from all the major parties (Liberals, Nationals, ALP, Greens), and chaired by a Liberal, that abattoirs in northern Australia are needed to provide a choice to northern cattle producers and promote domestic processing.
World Animal Protection has long argued for this, and did so in a submission to the committee. We pointed out both the animal welfare and economic gains to be had if the hundreds of thousands of cattle currently exported each year did not have to endure stressful sea voyages to overseas destinations, uncertain conditions, and often cruel slaughter.
We are hopeful that this recommendation is fully realised and we call on the government to shift its resources into opening up boxed meat markets, rather than live export markets.