The The Australian Livestock Exporters Council provided the following statement to ABC 7:30 on 8 August 2023.
The Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) has issued three previous statements on allegations made by the activist group Animals Australia. These statements were made on 30 May 2023, 2 June 2023, and 26 June 2023. This means, at the time of writing, the industry first informed the public about the allegations 11 weeks ago and our statements were covered by various media outlets at the time.
Since then, there has been an ongoing investigation into the allegations by the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), which is responsible for regulating the industry.
We consider this investigation by DAFF entirely appropriate and support it completely as part of a strong regulatory system. We have been very clear in the meantime that we do not wish to prejudice that investigation by making further comment.
ALEC and its members are unaware of any new allegations since advising the public of the situation 11 weeks ago. If any new allegations are made during this story, then Animals Australia should immediately refer them to DAFF for investigation.
If there are no new allegations, this is simply a rehash of an issue the industry made public nearly 3 months ago and it should be called out for the political campaign it is – designed to undermine the Export Supply Assurance System (ESCAS), not enhance it.
Australia is the only country in the world, out of over 100 that export livestock, that has regulations seeking to manage the welfare of livestock. While no system is perfect, it has improved animal welfare in all our sheep, goat and cattle markets for over a decade, contributing to a net improvement in animal welfare globally. At the same time the Australian live export industry has provided food security to millions of people in countries that cannot produce enough protein for their populations.
We are also sure this story will be timed in a manner that seeks to capitalise on the Albanese Government’s announcement to phase out live sheep exports. This policy will cause irreparable damage to the businesses of Western Australian farmers and to Australia’s longstanding friendship with our Middle Eastern trading partners. We know the community does not support it.
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