Councillors, Firstly, I would like to congratulate former Liberal Party’s Health Minister Sussan Ley on her recent public stand against the live export business This was on the back of National Party’s Minister for Agriculture & Water Resources, David Littleproud firmly ruling out a summer ban on the export of sheep, proposed by Labor’s WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
Whistleblowers for decades have been reporting companies breaking the law in relation to animal welfare and our weak successive governments have done nothing, no prosecutions, nothing. We, all of us, have a duty of care to all vulnerable beings.
The WA Labor Minister for Agriculture must be congratulated for her effort to have these criminals brought before the court and attempting to put an end to the export of live sheep.
That's a start but it doesn't go far enough.
According to the Financial Review, shutting down the live animal export trade would have ‘negligible’ impact on Australian farmers. When the nation's leading conservative economic journal says there is little benefit to the Australian economy- surely it's time to stop!
The Australian Meat Industry Employees Union has worked tirelessly over the years to highlight this appalling trade which is of no benefit to the animals, to the workers and the consumers.
Every animal welfare agency in Australia condemns the live export trade.
Veterinarians have spoken for years about the conditions on board these ‘ships of shame’. They have provided to successive governments damning evidence of breaches of animal welfare legislation yet there has been little to no action, no prosecutions brought against those who would consistently flaunt our laws.
Thousands upon thousands of people all over the country – in fact 80% - oppose the live export trade. We all remember back in 2011 when the ABC exposed the diabolical treatment of cattle exported from Australia and the then Labor government’s attempt to close it down.
Seven years on and our politicians still haven’t got the message. We need representatives who are prepared to represent the community at a local, state and federal level.
While the Australian Government and live export industry have talked over the last couple of weeks about improving animal welfare and greater transparency in the trade, they’re secretly loading further shipments of sheep for live export right now. .And despite the tough talk, it’s unclear if any new conditions have been applied. In fact, I am informed that it’s ‘business as usual’ no change at all to stocking densities. Right now, animal welfare agencies and an unprecedented number of everyday Australians including our farmers are demanding answers from the government.
Here in NSW the relevant legislation is the Animal Welfare Act 1992. Under that Act corporations can be fined a maximum of $110,000 for each offence. Those found guilty of breaching the legislation can be jailed for a period of up to five years.
Time for talk is over. Time for action. This will be an election issue for all levels of government.
Councillors, it starts with you to at a local level to ensure that the residents of Eurobodalla Shire are heard in the corridors of power.
Nothing short of a total BAN on ALL live animal export is good enough.
Thank you for listening.