You don’t have to be an animal activist to be an animal lover.
You don’t have to be an activist to understand that the live animal export trade is ethically wrong and inflicts unnecessary pain on animals.
We’ve all heard the age-old debate continuously making news headlines: “Is Australia’s live animal export trade truly necessary?”.
While there are excellent arguments for exports building Australia’s economy, the reality is animal exports harm animals and the environment, and are completely unnecessary in the grand scheme of Australia’s economy.
The live export trade, however big it may seem, only accounts for 0.4 per cent of Australia’s exports, generating $1.8 billion last year according to Australian Livestock Exports.
If Australia chose to process meat domestically, the RSPCA says it would generate 20 per cent more profit than exports.
That means more jobs, but not at the cost of defenceless animals.
Live animal exports are also taxing Australia’s environment: one of the top 40 carbon emitters in Australia was the live animal export trade, according to research conducted by PETA in 2013.
The lengthy journey live export animals make travelling internationally on boats cause pollution in the air as well as the sea.
The ocean’s ecosystem is worsening due to raw sewage from the exported animals’ boat being pumped into the water, which is causing a deterioration of fish species and water quality.
This means live exports do not just affect exported cattle, but also Australia’s marine life.
These live export complications are not the fault of Australian farmers – let’s be clear on that.
Farmers love and care for their livestock and should not be blamed for the actions of third-party exporters.
Exporters do not comply with ethical animal handling guidelines and are the result of the dangerous and cruel conditions we hear about on the news that live export animals are being forced into.
For this reason, Australians should not antagonise farmers.
Exporters should be reprimanded by the Government for animal cruelty, although Australia’s legislation has fundamentally allowed the live export trade to survive.
Leave a cat or dog in a hot car and you could be charged with animal cruelty and pay a fine or be jailed, yet exported animals are placed in these exact same conditions and it is overlooked.
Legal Counsel at Voiceless (an animal protection institute) Sarah Margo says farmed animals aren’t protected under Australian law or countries accepting Australia’s imports, who (in most cases) have no animal welfare laws at all.
“Ultimately, the law defines acceptable treatment of animals according to their ‘use’ rather than their capacity to suffer. This enshrines an unfortunate double standard, whereby farmed animals have very few protections.”
Knowing this information, you may think to yourself, how can the Government continue this trade?
But that’s just it – the Government is sweeping the issue under the rug like it does not exist.
Australians, let’s end the ‘no fear, no pain’ mantra driving the live animal export trade.
We all know live exports scare animals and causes pain.
Words by Christina Gibson
Illustration by Michelle Foo
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