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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9948


Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (13:30): It is with great alarm that people in my electorate have learned the government is considering exempting live animal exports to Saudi Arabia from the requirements of Australia's exporter supply chain assurance system, or ESCAS. The port of Fremantle handles a significant volume of the live export trade and the people of Fremantle, as well as the people throughout metro and regional Western Australia, are very conscious of the potential for mistreatment and cruelty in an industry that crudely transports millions of animals to a poorly regulated fate. The ESCAS itself is certainly not perfect, but it is the absolute bare minimum that should be required. Unfortunately, this government has no interest in animal welfare. When we talk about trucks and ships packed with animals forced to make long journeys of suffering en route to slaughter in conditions that too often amount to wanton cruelty and torture, this government sees only dollar signs.

Lyn White of Animals Australia has noted:

There are not only no animal welfare laws in Saudi Arabia, there are no animal welfare regulations in their slaughterhouses.

…   …   …

… it is irresponsible that the Abbott government is opening new and risky markets at a time regulations are failing in existing markets and with horrendous consequences for animals.

RSPCA Australia's CEO, Heather Neil, has said:

Giving special consideration and exemptions for one country is a slippery slope back to the horrors we saw in Indonesian abattoirs in 2011—what's to stop others from bullying Australia into the same thing?

The vast majority of the Australian community want to see animal welfare regulations made stronger and applied rigorously and consistently.