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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Greens join backlash over live animal export footage

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Supplied image of Australian cattle in a Vietnamese slaughterhouse. Australia's live cattle trade with three abattoirs in Vietnam has been suspended after video footage emerged of animals being mistreated. Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce described the footage as disturbing and "totally abhorrent". (AAP Image/Animals Australia)
Supplied image of Australian cattle in a Vietnamese slaughterhouse. Australia’s live cattle trade with three abattoirs in Vietnam has been suspended after video footage emerged of animals being mistreated. Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce described the footage as disturbing and “totally abhorrent”. (AAP Image/Animals Australia)

Greens candidate for Page Kudra Falla-Ricketts has joined the chorus of condemnation over the mistreatment of Australian cattle exported to Vietnam.

Video footage collected by animal welfare group Animals Australia, and aired on the ABC, has sparked outrage among politicians and cattle industry groups.

The footage, which shows cattle being bludgeoned to death with sledge hammers, is being investigated by the Federal Deparment of agriculture.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has vowed to suspend the licenses of live cattle exporters if they are found to be doing the wrong thing, but has ruled out banning the live export trade in response to the video.

Both Labor leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have condemned the mistreatment of Australian cattle.

Greens candidate for Page Kudra Falla-Ricketts. Photo Tree Faerie
Greens candidate for Page Kudra Falla-Ricketts. Photo Tree Faerie

Ms Falla-Ricketts has called for an immediate ban on live cattle exports to Vietnam, and a staged transition away from live exports.

‘Clearly existing procedures to ensure the humane treatment of animals exported from Australia are in disarray and the federal government’s ad hoc approach of only stopping exports to the abattoirs involved is a wholly inadequate response,’ Ms Falla-Ricketts said.

‘Does the federal government really expect us to stand idly by and wait for more shocking evidence to emerge, and then simply take action on a case by case basis? That is a recipe for ongoing failure.

‘Live exports need to be phased out completely, a move that would revitalise the meat processing industry inside Australia and create jobs.

‘I understand the difficulties for some farmers if the trade was stopped overnight completely, but we really do need to develop a proper plan in Australia to transition out of this practice.

‘In a region like ours, there would be job opportunities in a revitalised meat processing industry.’

The footage has also created a backlash within the cattle industry.

Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith said he wanted full enforcement of the law against exporters who sent the cattle to Vietnam.

Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association president Tom Stockwell said farmers put trust in exporters that their animals would be treated humanely.

‘It’s just not acceptable. We thought we’d fixed this problem,’ he told the ABC.


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  1. Kneejerk reactions always have unintended consequences. When you live in developing countries you start to understand poverty and implications this has to moral standards. Outright ban would affect all abattoirs which like everything else in life most do the right thing. This punishment would be resented and view us as colonialist.
    Banning! What are the unintended consequences? Well a lot of locals’ will lose their jobs. There is no “Dole” to rely on. The poor of the poorest who live day to day often are put in difficult situations. The unfortunate result can be that the females in families affected are the ones that suffer the most. Yes unintended conscequences….
    So before banning maybe visit the affected areas and have a look around.

    • After traveling, living and working in developing countries for over three decades, including on aid funding of livestock projects, I have to say your comments are pretty much spot on. The French word “abattoir” means to hit with a hammer. It is how the French taught the Vietnamese (and us) to kill animals, and done expertly is quick and humane. Part of the problem has been the expansion of meat consumption of consumption with the growing middle class – we are talking about people on a couple of hundred dollars a month starting to be able to afford meat more often then the occasional festival. As with the men who cut the jugular in Indonesia, there do not appear to be enough people who can kill correctly in the traditional way. By continuing exports to responsible abattoirs we retain a seat at the table to pressure abattoirs to maintain humane standards in the new environment of expanding and regular meat consumption, while maintaining work and improved nutrition and quality of life in Vietnam and allowing our own industry to continue (which employs many indigenous workers). I suspect though that those objecting are taking advantage of these incidents, with a a small number of video clips endlessly repeated on TV and social media, to pursue other agendas,such as objections to even modest meat consumption and environmental concerns of livestock overstocking (the latter better addressed directly). .

  2. Here we go again…or maybe not, now that we have a sensible government.

    These weepy people don’t understand that once we’ve sold our cattle they belong to the buyer. Much as we may find their methods abhorrent, the reality is that the cattle now belong to them. Live cattle export is a valuable trade between us and Indonesia as well as being important to maintaining good foreign relations, something that Gillard didn’t realise when she embargoed the cattle trade a few years ago.

    Imagine if the Japs complained at the way we drove and maintained our Toyotas and Mazdas. Let’s keep things in perspective.

  3. i don’t agree with some of the methods used to kill animals , but when you don’t have refrigerators and live miles away from where you bought the animal , what are you supposed to ?

  4. this cruel treatment must stop send them chilled and frozen meat
    its better for the animals and it works out cheaper
    don’t brush all of this cruelty off with statements like ‘well they are a developing country ‘ or they have ‘no refrigerators’ they can always access something to keep meat
    stop using the same excuses to justify and allow cruelty and profits before humane practices

  5. At last the Greens are speaking out against Live Export. Funny how right before elections now that the Animal Justice Party has that as one of their platforms. AJP exists to keep the Greens on their toes and thankfully it is working methinks.


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