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RESPONSE TO COMPLAINT OF SLEDGEHAMMER USE ON AUSTRALIAN CATTLE IN VIETNAM

“No animal should be subjected to the cruel and outdated practice of stunning by sledgehammer – a practice banned by Australian exporters in our supply chains but unfortunately still used in the rudimentary non-approved slaughter houses in Vietnam”, Ms Penfold said.

“That’s why on behalf of exporters ALEC has talked publicly of this practice as a risk to the welfare of livestock that are illegally removed from our supply chains and why we have taken additional measures to address leakage.

“Exporters have themselves self-reported breaches of ESCAS to the Department of Agriculture but this latest report captures our worst fears for welfare – that Australian cattle have been illegally removed from our supply chains for quick buck processing in non-approved slaughterhouses in northern Vietnam.

“That’s also why all Australian exporters to Vietnam at the end of March put in place additional control and traceability conditions on all importers in Vietnam to strengthen the integrity of supply chains and weed out any facilities or importers that refuse to meet Australian requirements.

“Those additional conditions include the placement of CCTV cameras in every approved feedlot and abattoir for monitoring by exporters. The CCTV rollout across the 80 plus facilities is underway with full implementation to be completed as a matter of urgency.

“Where breaches are found they will be treated harshly ahead of any conditions placed on exporters by Australian regulatory authorities.

“We are taking our responsibilities to welfare seriously and moved independently of any regulatory requirement or third party report to increase our monitoring and put our own response to breaches in place.

“It is the industry’s intention to build Vietnam as a long term sustainable market but we will only do so with importers and facilities that share our commitment to animal welfare. That commitment includes in approved abattoirs 100% use of proper stunning before slaughter.

“Two importers have already been placed in suspension by exporters for breaching our conditions. That suspension is enforced by all exporters so no importer can shop around for alternative Australian supply.

“We mean business by continuing to trade with those Vietnamese supply chains that are committed to good standards of welfare and we mean business by refusing to trade with those that don’t.

“More broadly and once again in the interests of all livestock in the market, regardless of country of origin, we call on the OIE, the Government of Vietnam and the wider international community to work together to address the treatment of livestock in the interest of immediately stopping cruel slaughter practices and improving animal welfare. The Australian livestock export industry stands ready to support that effort in addition to the training and RD&E we are already providing.”

Ends

Contact: Alison Penfold 0408 633 026

Please note following links to media statements by ALEC on Vietnam market in recent months, including references to local slaughter practices and our efforts to ensure the integrity of Australian exporter supply chains.

http://www.beefcentral.com/live-export/wrestling-with-the-cattle-welfare-challenge-in-vietnam/
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-12/cattle-trade-to-vietnam-goes-ahead-despite-welfare-concerns/6307384
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-17/new-welfare-standards-for-vietnamese-live-cattle-trade/6397178