Live export sparks much debate within Melbourne's west.
While in government Labor sought to prevent mistreatment of Australian animals by establishing the Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS). This imposed the highest standards of animal welfare worldwide upon the live export industry, and was reinforced by a commitment to create an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports. This system allowed Australia to maintain an industry critical to the Australian economy yet also subjected the industry to the highest standards of animal care.
Unfortunately, under the Abbott Government we saw a shift to an inconsistent and unpredictable policy that should concern all. The Abbott Government abandoned Labor’s plans to establish the Office of the Inspector-General and abolished the Australian Welfare Advisory Committee, and there is speculation that a weakening of the ESCAS standards is to come.
Tim calls on the Coalition government to enforce the ESCAS standards agreed to by the Australian live export industry and re-establish the Office of the Inspector General.
Since the election of the Abbott Government, growth in the live animal export trade has increased.
We must ensure, as more reports of animal mistreatment continue to emerge, that this regulatory body is adequately funded to deal with this increase of trade.
Far more needs to be done to give Australians confidence that ESCAS standards are being effectively enforced.
On Monday the 15th of June Labor’s Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon, moved a motion in the Parliament calling on the Government to appoint an independent Inspector General for Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports, a position established by the previous Labor government and abolished by the Abbott Government shortly after it was elected.
The motion also called on the Government to provide quarterly ministerial reports to the Parliament on any allegations of breaches of animal welfare standards and investigations undertaken; and any sanctions or other actions taken against those who have breached or should have prevented breaches of Australia’s animal welfare standards.
In 2013 I held a public meeting to hear about the concerns people in Melbourne's west had about live exports. I hope to organise another meeting again soon.