Government removed whistleblower following export industry concerns

Simon Crean_1392The Federal Government removed a whistleblower vet from her duties following the presentation of evidence of cruelty on Australian live export ships.
The ABC’s 7.30 obtained evidence which they claim demonstrates that Lynn Simpson was dumped by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources after she made a highly critical report in 2012.
Simpson’s report included pictures of animals suffocating in overcrowded conditions, drowning in faeces and being forced to stand on hard surfaces for weeks on end.
The report was apparently intended to be an internal document, but it was accidentally published on the department’s website.
Simpson was relieved of her duties within weeks of publication, and claims her evidence was soon sanitised.
The then first assistant secretary of the department’s Animal Division, Karen Schneider, contacted Simpson in a letter obtained by the ABC and conceded she was removed from her role because of industry concerns.
“This is because the industry with which we engage has expressed the view they cannot work with you,” Schneider wrote. Continue reading Government removed whistleblower following export industry concerns

RSPCA’s fears government ‘hands-off’ approach to live exports

Animal welfare groups are calling on the federal government to resist efforts to “water down” regulation of the live export industry.

In a submission to the LGAP (Livestock Global Assurance Program) Committee, RSPCA Australia said new proposals from industry would lead to self-regulation and less government oversight of an industry which has seen serious breaches in animal welfare.

RSPCA Australia’s Senior Policy Officer Jed Goodfellow, said the submission to the Committee had raised concerns over the implications of the “government hands-off” proposals from the industry.

“The LGAP process is industry-driven and funded,” he said.

“It has been promoted on the basis that it is ‘independent of government’ and may appease foreign markets that have opposed the current Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).”

LGAP describes itself as a joint research project that is “focused on developing a global conformity assessment program that protects the welfare of animals and fosters continual improvement and the attainment of best practice.”

Goodfellow said the industry needs to answer some questions regarding claims that LGAP would operate independent of government. Continue reading RSPCA’s fears government ‘hands-off’ approach to live exports

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

Sheep deaths spark further export debate

 

Flickr Live Export Bader III MaasmondmaritimeLive exports have again made news after more than 4000 sheep died from heat exhaustion after 21 days on board a live export ship bound for Qatar from Fremantle.

 

Exporter Livestock Shipping Service (LSS) said 4179 sheep died in the Gulf of Aden in August last year aboard the Bader III vessel.

 

LSS is a Perth based Jordanian-owned company based in Perth and they are under investigation by Federal authorities for breaches of export regulations in Jordan and Gaza.

 

The company issued a statement through a PR firm which said the majority of sheep were loaded in accordance with Australian Standards and most of the sheep died during an extreme weather event on the 21st day of the voyage.

 

Industry and Government supported heat stress risk modeling computer software was used to assess this voyage and is used by the company to assess all voyages to the Middle East and northern Hemisphere destination,” the statement said.

 

The statement added the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) increased the minimum space requirements for sheep by 10 per cent above Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock requirements for the next consignment of livestock on the vessel.

 

Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia (PGA) President, Rob Gillam, conceded the incident is “not really what the industry needed.” Continue reading Sheep deaths spark further export debate

Heat stress: A major contributor to poor animal welfare associated with long-haul live export voyages

Recent investigations by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry into high mortalities on live export voyages from Australia to the Middle East during the Northern hemisphere summer suggest that animal welfare may be compromised by heat stress.

The live export industry has generated a computer model that aims to assess the risk of heat stress and to contain mortality levels on live export ships below certain arbitrary limits.

Although the model must be complied with under Australian law, it is not currently available for independent scientific scrutiny, and there is concern that the model and the mandated space allowances are inadequate. Continue reading Heat stress: A major contributor to poor animal welfare associated with long-haul live export voyages