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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11703

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (16:02): On Saturday I attended a rally on the steps of Parliament House, Adelaide, aimed at drawing public attention to animal cruelty and in particular to the ongoing cruelty which Australian sheep and cattle destined for the Middle East markets still endure. The rally was well attended, reflecting the widespread public criticism of the live export trade. In particular there was anger at the government's weak response to ongoing ESCAS breaches by exporters and move to stop the exposure of animal cruelty by imposing ag gag laws.

Existing laws are already adequate to deal with trespass and vandalism, so there is no justification for ag gag laws being introduced. Furthermore, exposing bad practice wherever it occurs should be applauded, not punished. No industry argument as to why the animals cannot be processed in Australia prior to export is convincing. The underlying reason why most live export trade occurs is because it is cheaper to slaughter stock in overseas markets than in Australia.

The government appears to be indifferent to the fate of animals once they leave Australia yet simultaneously talks up the ESCAS conditions as leading the world in animal protection. I also note that the government has not sought to abolish the conditions since coming to office. The conditions may lead the world but they only provide any protection if they are enforced. I call on the minister not only to enforce them but to ensure that his department is adequately resourced to do that.