The RSPCA is calling for a restructure away from live exports in light of the recent animal cruelty allegations in Egypt and, more recently,Malaysia.
The animal welfare charity believes that it’s in the interests of farmers and animals to develop a meat-only export trade.
Lynne Bradshaw, president of RSPCA Australia, believes that the Northern Australian cattle crisis could have been avoided if adequate infrastructure was put in place.
“For the northern Australia cattle industry, if there was an abattoir operating in Darwin right now, producers in Western Queensland and the Northern Territory would at least have another option available to them for their cattle,” she said.
“I’m sure that the majority of urban Australia would think positively of a government that supported this type of infrastructure development. It is key to building our meat export opportunities out of northern Australia.”
Bradshaw said that as live export is a high risk industry, overnight market shocks and interruptions to trade will continue to create uncertainty and impact producers unless a restructure is formed.
“Neither OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) guidelines nor ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) can deliver animal handling and slaughter to the standards required in Australia. Whilst animals continue to be sent to inadequate facilities, so too will cruelty continue and in turn our farmers will be affected,” said Bradshaw.
“Forward planning is vital. If the government is serious about protecting our animals and supporting Australian farmers, then it must invest in alternatives now.”
Bradshaw said that by investing in operations and facilities locally and increasing demand for Australian meat in international markets, we can create a secure future for Australian farmers while ensuring the protection of animals.