Livestock Export Review

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Last updated: 1 Aug 2011

Jennifer Crocker

The live export trade has been developed with the support of all levels of government . For any government to suddenly threaten that industry is a gross inconsistency and very poor business and diplomatic practice.

A government that operates with knee–jerk reactions to media stories is thrashing round like a rudderless ship. If the decision was part of an organised and orchestrated campaign by the green/animal rights movements they should pay the price of their programme. It is despicable to carry out actions and expect somebody else to pay.

Cattlemen produce the animals in a humane way – and often with caring and kind practices beyond basic humane animal husbandry requirements, send them to markets developed in good faith with the help of governments and under the watchful eye of biosecurity, animal rights groups and all the monitors considered necessary. If the animal rights groups have allowed these cruel practices in other countries they have been sleeping on their watch. Why should our cattlemen then have to pay the full price?

The live export trade gives an outlet for cattle from northern Australia that fills a need for animal protein in our poor near northern neighbours. By sourcing cattle from here they are not forced to source them from South America and places further away whence long sea voyages would cause much more distress to the cattle (or sheep, camels and other animals).

If animal rights people are concerned about the cattle being penned up on boats, why do they not consider helping the children living in high–rise apartments with little access to open spaces, or open bushland?

It is foolish to think we could process these cattle here. Many northern works have come and gone because of the difficulty of getting suitable labour. Many positions in the present works are filled by visitors on work visas because Australians will not do this kind of work.

The livestock export industry has shown it can fill the need for protein in other countries. Indeed Australia with its small population has a responsibility to help feed the world. Food production needs to be given protection and the processes of getting this food to the people needing it also needs protection.

This one stupid action in banning live export suddenly, has damaged Australia’s reputation as a reliable supplier and shown our present government has more loyalty to irresponsible pressure groups than to the productive citizens of our own country and the hungry ones in other countries.

To restore the trade for no better reason than it was taken off demonstrates the irrationality of this government with no consideration of the people and industry they have so damaged here, or the Indonesians whose livelihood and food supply they disrupted.

Jennifer Crocker