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Byron Shire
September 29, 2022

Heartbroken

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Today I saw a terrible photo of a calf covered in faeces, drowning, blinded by the strong ammonia on those ships of death of Australia’s live export trade. This horror, this abomination, this cruelty has to stop now!

Dear Prime Minister Albanese, You have broken my heart. Myself and many others waited for a very long time for the vile former government to be defeated, and the good people in Labor to win. When this happened, the elation was fantastic. So the betrayal now is immense! 

I learned today that you reneged on your promise to stop the ghastly live export trade. Are you aware that those who profit most from this terrible trade in animal’s suffering are some of the richest people in this country? 

If the government was honest about giving jobs to Australian workers, rather than further enriching the coffers of Australia’s wealthy, including the mining-and-beef queen Gina Rinehart, they would process the meat in Australia. Rinehart holds the most land. 

She controls 9.2 million hectares, or 1.2 per cent of Australia’s landmass, through three different corporate entities, according to data compiled by Guardian Australia (Ben Butler, 17 May, 2021). The government would also save Australian taxpayers money in subsidies. These traders also benefit from insurance payments when thousands of animals die in transport. Another very profitable racket.

The former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Animal Welfare (nicknamed by some as Minister for Animal Cruelty), Barnaby Joyce, was also the live export industry’s biggest cheerleader. He scrapped the department’s animal welfare branch in 2013.  

He is mates with Gina Rinehart. It was then reported on the evening news that she helped him financially with his election. Not long after, Gina Rinehart was given the opportunity to buy, together with her Chinese business partner, Shanghai Cred Corporation, Australia’s second largest cattle property, the Kidman cattle empire. This meant they could send more of Australia’s cattle to China, to be tortured (I’ve been told the Chinese wrongly believe the more an animal is made to suffer the better the meat) and slaughtered. Rinehart feels encouraged to expand her empire. She has already stated that she is determined to export 30 million cattle to China. China’s animal welfare standards are non-existent and almost impossible to control.

Politician Bob Katter, who spoke out against the Kidman deal, called it a cheap con. This was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald in an article about live exports controlled by a small band of multinational companies.

Andrew Wilkie accused the federal government of lying when it said a ban would hurt farmers and regional communities, insisting that processing meat in Australia before exporting would create thousands of jobs. 

‘For the government to claim otherwise is either naive or dishonest. And I’d suggest in this case it’s dishonest.’

I thought you were a compassionate person. How can you live knowing millions of innocent creatures are subjected to unimaginable suffering in this horrific aberration that is the live export trade? 

And there’s the other matter – the connection between cruelty to animals and violence to humans. I have spent the last eight years researching and writing about this subject. My book will be published by Australian Scholarly Publishing in spring. 

VA Thompson, Byron Bay


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