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MLA not doing enough for animal welfare: Greens

The Australian Greens have slammed Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), saying that while they might survive a bid for the body to be abolished; they have lost the respect of the industry.

The Australian Beef Association is moving to abolish the MLA today, but is expected to survive the bid, only barely.

Greens Senator and animal Welfare spokesperson says the Agriculture Minister Jo Ludwig should acknowledge that self-regulation of live exports has failed.

"Continuing to give the MLA the $5 a head cattle slaughter levy is like giving milk money to a child who’d rather spend it on lollies," Rhiannon says.

"A spokesperson for Senator Ludwig told ABC radio today that any restructure is a matter for industry, but he can no longer abdicate responsibility when industry and the public are so dissatisfied with the MLA’s performance.

"The MLA is a dead man walking.

“Despite reaping over $100 million a year from cattle sales and matched public funding for research the body has failed its job to protect animals involved in Australia’s live exports trade.

The now-infamous footage of the mistreatment of animals for slaughter by the ABC’s Four Corners earlier this year, pushed the government to ban live exports from Indonesia and caused many to call for better regulations of the industry.

The ban was overturned in July and last week it was revealed 129 000 of cattle have been sent to Indonesia since the change.

In September, the MLA admitted warning abattoirs when inspectors would be attending the premises, so they could clean up their act and pass inspections.

“While it’s estimated the MLA spends $185,000 per annum on improving welfare standards the Four Corners report made clear that there is little to show for it,” Rhiannon says.

"Proper regulation and accountability in the live animal exports industry is long overdue.

"Reports yesterday that more than 500 sheep died from starvation and infections during the disrupted voyage of the Al Messilah ship to the Middle East reminds us why.

"The government should take control of the MLA’s research and animal welfare functions.

"The Greens will continue the campaign to ban all live exports.

“The soon to be tabled Senate inquiry report is a good opportunity to end this trade once and for all.”

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