The RSPCA has once again condemned the Australian Government's continuing support of the live export trade, following this week's signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue the export of live animals to Qatar.
Australia will continue sending sheep, cattle, buffalo and goats to Qatar following the signing of an MOU in which Qatar undertakes to offload animals into a quarantine facility if there should be a suspected problem (e.g., an outbreak of disease).
RSPCA Australia Chief Executive Officer Heather Neil said that like those before it, this agreement would not protect the welfare of Australian animals that are subjected to the live export trade.
"We all witnessed the absolutely horrific treatment of Australian sheep that arrived on the very first shipment after the Australia Government signed an MOU with the Egyptian Government late last year," said Ms Neil.
"In reality, these MOUs are a band-aid solution aimed at justifying continuation of this inherently cruel trade," she said.
Ms Neil also said the MOU was an attempt to offer a false sense of reassurance to an Australian community that is increasingly concerned about the treatment of animals in the live export industry."The Australian Government and live export industry claim to care about animal welfare, but in ratifying this MOU with Qatar they have yet again condemned thousands of Australian animals to a long cruel journey followed by inhumane handling and slaughter," she said.
"The MOU only governs procedures until the animals are offloaded, and it is an indisputable fact that Australian authorities have no control over the treatment of livestock once they arrive at their destination,"Furthermore, the signing of this MOU shows Government and industry are still struggling to deal with the inherent risks that lead to the infamous Cormo Express disaster more than four years ago,' said Ms Neil. The RSPCA opposes live exports because the trade is inherently cruel, resulting in the death and suffering of too many animals each year from exhaustion, hunger, thirst, heat and stress. Furthermore, the Australian Government has no control over how animals are treated in the country of destination.
The RSPCA's position remains that the live export trade is unnecessary because all major export markets for live animals already accept chilled and frozen meat from Australia that has been humanely slaughtered according to religious requirements. The Australian Government and livestock industries need to expand facilities in Australia and increase the marketing of meat into Qatar rather than continuing live exports.