China live export claims garner criticism

Veterinary groups have criticised the federal government’s plans to commence live cattle exports to China.

Vets Against Live Export (VALE) said the journey by sea to China is about 18 days, equivalent to the journey to the Middle East, a distance they deem unacceptable.

The organisation is also concerned about animal protection laws in China, and said Australian animals are likely to be handled and slaughtered in a fashion that would be unacceptable at home.

VALE believe animal welfare is best served when animals are slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production.

“The history of what has happened to Australian cattle exported live tells us that the outcomes are not likely to be acceptable,” VALE spokesperson Sue Foster said.

“The second important consequence is the deleterious effect this will have on the Australian meat processing industry.” Continue reading China live export claims garner criticism

Considering the exposure of cruelty

The exposure on Four Corners of the treatment of Australian cattle exported to Indonesia had a number of interesting features. For one thing, few people would have seen so graphically such relentless and extreme animal cruelty.

As everyone now knows, cattle in the abattoirs variously suffered eye gouging, repeated throat slashing, goading, dragging, thrashing, and so on. Viewers could be in little doubt that those inflicting the violence saw no moral limit, or virtually no limit, to what may be done to these animals.

Many people, perhaps for the first time, were deeply disturbed and even haunted by the way animals were treated. Some may long remember certain images, such as the sight of a steer visibly trembling in fear as it watched other animals suffer the treatment it was itself moments away from experiencing.

Politicians and members of the public and cattle industry labelled the treatment “disgusting”. More than usual for a news story about animals, there was much public and media discussion, and significant political action, such as the rapidly organised campaign by GetUp.

The event also led to unusual alliances, between some farmers, meatworkers, and animal groups, and between the welfare-orientated RSPCA and the rights-orientated Animals Australia which obtained the footage.

The evidence raises general questions about our moral responsibility for animals sent to any country, not just Indonesia, which may have lower standards of care. It also invites us to reflect on the tensions between economics, culture and religion, and the treatment of animals. Continue reading Considering the exposure of cruelty