Poll: What do you think of live exports? 597



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Tony Abbott says the “last thing” the Government will do is stop the live export of cattle, but a newly released poll shows he is out of step with the public’s wishes.

Vets Against Live Export (VALE) conducted a poll in January – before current allegations that cattle are being bludgeoned to death with sledgehammers in Vietnamese abattoirs – and found 59 per cent of those questioned disapproved of live exports. There was a very strong bias amongst women against live export, with 75 per cent wanting to see the trade banned.

The poll also revealed that 72 per cent of respondents wanted mandatory penalties imposed when there were breaches of the law by live exporters, and 81 per cent of those polled wanted independent veterinarians on every live export voyage.

VALE spokesperson Dr Sue Foster said: “Not only is live export bad for animal welfare, but it is bad for the Australian economy. It is clear from recent figures and from statements by key live export players that the live export trade is determined to expand at the expense of the far more profitable meat processing sector. Perhaps Prime Minister Abbott needs to bear this in mind as he tries to fix the economy and contemplates the next election”.

In response to the allegations,a  spokesperson from the Vietnamese embassy says abattoirs are closely monitored and that the video does not necessarily show Australian cattle, or a licensed facility.

Alison Penfold, chief executive of the Australian Live Exporters’ Council, says: ‘These are animals that have been removed illegally from our supply chains being processed in rudimentary local slaughterhouses”.

However activist group Animals Australia says the method of stunning cows with a blow using a sledgehammer, or using the implement to kill the animal, is traditionally how it’s done in Vietnam. The activist groups says it has video evidence that conclusively shows Australia cattle being treated in this inhumane way, however the footage is too brutal to release to the public.

The RSPCA has called for a halt to trade in order to conduct an independent review. “What new twist on this appalling cruelty will it take to make (Agriculture) Minister Barnaby Joyce step up and take action,” a spokeswoman said on Yahoo News.

Is policy out of line with public opinion? We’d love to find out. Tick the box that best describes your position on the issue of live cattle exports:

[polldaddy poll=8883218]

In the comments, please elaborate on why you chose your answer. Let’s tell the Government how we want to proceed on this issue. 


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The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Live animal trade is cruel. Packing them into cattle trucks, then ship holds, and God know’s what at the end. It’s been proved time, and time, again that animals are treated inhumanely. Why can’t we have a flourishing meat processing sector, work for Australians, taxes paid in Australia, people spending the money in Australia, how can that be bad? The article states that meat processing is far more profitable than live export.

    3 REPLY
    • If it was really much more ‘profitable’ why wouldn’t producers move to a chilled trade? Because it isn’t! There are a few abattoirs popping up in northern Australia but this trade will always be underpinned by the live market as long as countries in our region wish to import live cattle. The chilled trade and the live trade are two different entities that cant just be interchanged – until the living standards and disposable income of our closest neighbours become similar to ours then there will be a need for wet markets where people can buy freshly killed meat and know that it is safe to eat. Wondering why the live trade can’t be easily replaced with the chilled trade is a bit like saying people in developing countries should stop riding bikes and just buy cars instead.

      1 REPLY
      • Climate change will end live export and our government is foolish by expanding the trade and making more and more people dependent on it and gambling with their future. It is a very cruel and corrupt trade and doesn’t have the support of all Australians although it gets their tax dollars, which is wrong. It also has a negative effect on caring Australians causing much angst as they are forced to sit back and watch it continue.

        1 REPLY
        • If you are worried about climate change then you should be in support of live export! It requires far less energy and intensive processing than the chilled market and provides people in countries not so well off as ours with a safe reliable source of protein without the needing a huge amount of infrastructure or energy for refrigeration along the ENTIRE supply chain.

    • only 6% of farmers breed for live export, the vast majority of decent farmers refuse to breed for the live export market. LE makes up only 0.4% of total exports from Australia. It is a pea in the ocean and Australia would not even notice it economically if it was banned tomorrow. The trade in Australia is not underpinned by the LE market, it is the other way around. The LE industry sprouts this but it is untrue. They are full of their own self importance. A chilled meat industry is far more profitable than LE. The LE supporters are full of BS.

      4 REPLY
      • Looks like someone has been perusing the AA website and not looking much further into it – it might’ve only .4% of australia in total but it is a huge industry for northern Australia and would and did have a big impact when it was banned. Your comment suggests you have little genuine knowledge of the real and complex issues surrounding live export. I suggest gathering your information from more than one source.

      • You’re kidding. The ignorance of you people astounds me. The live export industry is crucial to Australian cattle producers, and for ignorant city slickers to say otherwise just shows how truly ignorant you are to the truth and facts. It’s an embarrassing place thus country is heading when some online terrorists like animals Australia can contort silly city folk beliefs.
        They tell you so many lies. Speak to someone actually involved in the cattle or, meat industry, and the you’ll realise how vital it is.
        Shame on you.

        2 REPLY
        • Gosh Bert you want to have an influence on people’s opinions about live export so you insult them, brilliant. I’m a silly city person and I think live export should be banned, clearly the industry is willing to turn a blind eye to barbaric slaughter practices as long as a buck can be made, it does not have the intestinal fortitude to govern itself so it should be closed down. By the way people have only been making money from live export since the mid 1970’s, I think there have been farmers since much earlier, what did they do with their cattle before then, or is this a new industry with people who simply cashed in on the misery caused to these unfortunate animal Shelter?

        • Gosh Bert you want to have an influence on people’s opinions about live export so you insult them, brilliant. I’m a silly city person and I think live export should be banned, clearly the industry is willing to turn a blind eye to barbaric slaughter practices as long as a buck can be made, it does not have the intestinal fortitude to govern itself so it should be closed down. By the way people have only been making money from live export since the mid 1970’s, I think there have been farmers since much earlier, what did they do with their cattle before then, or is this a new industry with people who simply cashed in on the misery caused to these unfortunate animals?

      • Yiu You poor ignorant woman. Where do you get yiur so called facts!? Everything you have sprouted here is absolute garbage. The live export trade is essential to the northern beef industry! Last time the trade was banned we saw record low prices in the north and properties overstocked because there was no market. Cattle died on farms, graziers killed themselves cause they couldnt support their families. You people need to have a good hard look at yourselves and the organisations you support. Your actions have consequences! Animals Australia and the Gillard government all have blood on their hands. Thats right, the blood of their own farmers. Anyone of you who support the anti live export jargon is no better than those people.

      • So what you are actually saying is that these 6% you reference are not decent people and so are the rest of the one’s who don’t agree with your uneducated opinion

    • Kathy, the customer wants live animals. If they wanted packaged meat they would already be buying it. But as most don’t have access to refrigeration it would simply go off.
      If we stop exporting the customer will simply go to another country for their supply. As Australia is the world leader in animal welfare and animal welfare education what happens to the welfare of animals arriving in those countries then? Seems to me people on this thread are more interested in destroying Australian farmers, their families, their mental health and Australia’s economy than they are in animal welfare. If you were dinkum about animal welfare why aren’t you targeting the purchasers? Because it’s easier to attack your fellow Aussies. SHAME ON YOU!

      1 REPLY
      • I would say shame on you for thinking it’s okay to treat sentient beings in this way. And yes, I wish people (the buyers) could see that we don’t need to eat meat, although aware I would be fighting a losing battle.

  2. For Goodness sake stop this evil practice !

    1 REPLY
    • You obviously have absolutely no idea what is involved in live animal exports. Don’t just jump on with your emotional claptrap. Take the time to find out the facts and the work by Aussies in educating customers about animal welfare. What happens to these animals when they start importing from other countries? Seems by your comments you don’t care so long as you ruin Aussie farmers and their families. Good on you. You must feel so proud.

  3. I do so agree, but Tony doesn’t won’t help Asylum Seekers so no chance with cattle

    1 REPLY
    • The difference here is, as people they had a choice to go on these boats, the animals dont!!!

  4. Does anyone really need to ask that question? The answer is obvious. Stop it now. How would you feel if that was you? Abbott doesn’t care

    8 REPLY
    • So Beryl , do you think the red head cared when she sent us broke ? Who do you think cares ? The greenies ? The do gooders ? Do you think the farmers will care when do gooders step into their business and try to ruin it ? Do the do gooders care about farmers struggling ? by the way this would be a big fat NO ) !!!
      Some people care more about illegal immigrants than they care about our children’s welfare ! Our safety !
      Would you let a stranger walk into your house and start living as a part of the family without an invite or knowing WHO they are ?

      2 REPLY
      • The ban only lasted 5-6 weeks. Please explain to me how this sent you broke? I’m sick of hearing about it.

        2 REPLY
        • Hazel, how would you cope with no income for 5-6 weeks whilst still having massive outgoings, diesel, mortgage payments, wages, electricity, water, feed for cattle, still having to pay the cost of freight of the cattle that were stopped from export, machinery maintenance, yet another city slicker who has no idea whatsoever. And what about all the road transport operators who had no work with no warning, what about the cattle that got stuck mid transit, the agents who all of a sudden had no income.

        • You do gooders are pathetic. “Just dont eat meat” if thats your attitude then maybe you would be better off living somewhere else.

          The lies and threats, suicides and financial ruin cause by Animals Australia, Rspca, Abc, and those associated with them borders on corporate terrorism. These people conspire against good Australian people and attempt to destroy them. Time and again they try and tear us down, try to bring ruin to our families and businesses. We in the North are fed up! These corporations are killing the northern economy. Not just beef, but everything! The mining boom is over, we only have agriculture left. And contrary to some peoples beliefs, the rest of us cannot and will not eat tofoo and lentils for the rest our lives.

      • Carolyn . so a few weeks suspension over 3 years ago was enough to send farmers broke?? not a very viable business then obviously. All businesses face adversities . in farmings case /drought. floods , market gliches. and gluts. Live export is abhorrent . we care as much about you cattle people as you care about those animals you send to this torture

    • I totally agree with you Beryl. How these farmers think that their livelihood should be a priority over that of animal welfare is beyond believable. This shows the type of people that they are…they do not represent the view of the majority of Australians. I would never, ever make a living off the back of animal welfare…how disgusting that anyone would ask that their livelihood be prioritised and just forget about the sledgehammering of animals….sickening.

      4 REPLY
      • It’s an absolute disgrace how producers leave it up to the caring folk. Their attitude, of who cares, get them on the boats ASAP, sickens me. Come on! there has to be at least one producer out there who puts animal welfare and the abhorrent treatment, over their cheque book. For goodness sake, wake up and grow a conscience, for this is a totally unacceptable form of trade in YOUR LUVESTOCK.

      • Sue. What dumb comments. Australian farmers care very deeply about their animals and there welfare. Australians are world leaders in educating others about animal welfare. Change is happening in all markets… slowly but surely. Yes, we still see the odd abhorrence from time to time. But our farmers continue to educate and make a difference. What you fail to understand is that if Australia pulls out of the live trade business their customers will simply get them from another source… another country. What happens to animal welfare then? Will you attack the producers of those countries? Of course not… because it’s easier to emotionally and financially destroy our own farmers.

      • Sue, I meant to say I agree with you, NOT WITH ARTHUR TODD. Posted in wrong thread and can’t delete

    • Poor Abbott again…. Should read” Abbott, Gillard, Rudd, Howard………,.” If you want to point fingers.

      1 REPLY
      • One of the things I admire Labor for doing is recognising blatant cruelty, when it stared them in the face, and bringing a halt to it.

    • Carolyn you make a whole lot of sense. The farmers feed us. The greenies and do gooders care more about putting farmers out of business and filling the country with people who have no respect for our way of life.

    • I am not a fan of live export though…..I think we could kill them here and send them packaged overseas. I’m sure they can do it in a way the keeps everyone happy.

      1 REPLY
      • Agree with your first post Jane, but not your second. If the customer wanted packaged meat he would already be buying it. Would you buy a sheep or go to the supermarket and buy packaged lamb? The customer buys what he wants to buy. If you can’t supply he simply goes elsewhere.

  5. the animals should be slaughtered packed and frozen here then flown out, animal cruelty should never be tolerated. Barnaby Joyce was quick to jump on the bandwagon and get publicity for Depps dogs but what is he doing to stop this cruelty from happening to our animals..NOTHING

    1 REPLY
    • They can’t fly it over frozen because a lot of the countries we ship cattle to don’t have the refrigeration capacity that we do here. They kill what they can sell and it is cooked up on almost the same day.
      These countries are a lot worse off than we are here so stop jumping the gun and assuming that it’s the same everywhere.

      2 REPLY
      • What a load of crap Skye. They do have refrigeration…and it isn’t the poor that buy the meat, the animals that are live exported are for the rich…so this claim that LE provides the protein for the poor is totally untrue. The LE industry makes out that they are saving the poor in these countries and if it wasn’t for them these people would die. They fail to understand that these people survived before Australia LE and that you can get just as much protein from plants as you can from beef.

        3 REPLY
        • And just how many wet markets have you been too Sue? It sure as hell isn’t the ‘Rich’ buying their meat there. It is however the ‘rich’ buying chilled meat.

        • Sue you clearly are mistaken, and are peddling lies. It is specifically the poor that buy the meat from these cattle. Not the rich as you claim.
          The rich in these markets actually do buy our much more expensive chilled meat.
          But hey, don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.
          You should be embarrassed for the made up lies you’re spreading. I’ve worked in the cattle and meat industry for 30 years, and it’s a shame we ate in the minority, because I would love to have to numbers and the donations and tax free status that the grubs at animals Australia have and show the world what misinformed and delusional anti Australia crusaders you really are.

        • What a load of crap Sue. Most customer countries have limited access to power and to refrigeration. In many cases meat is sold in daily open markets, sold on the day, eaten on the day. If these countries wanted packaged chilled meat they would already be buying it. Australia going out of the market just means the customer will buy elsewhere. What happens to animal welfare then? Or is it just Aussie farmers you want to destroy? And no, I’m not a farmer nor make my living from farmers. I REALLY care about animal welfare and want to see the change continue. Do you?

      • Every country we currently send live animals to, with the exception of Turkey, already imports chilled Australian beef and/or lamb, much of it Halal, from animals STUNNED and slaughtered to Australian standards, under Australian law, by Australian workers – this at least spares the animals the ship voyages of up to five weeks, and in the case of all sheep except those sent to Jordan, also spares them having their throats cut whilst fully conscious. As a nice side effect, it also keeps the jobs, profits and value-adding in Australia.

        The oil-rich Gulf countries we export live animals to would be horrified to think that there are people speculating that they don’t have refrigeration – Dubai has an indoor ski resort with real snow! In fact, a review undertaken in 2011 by Dubai-based Market Vision Research & Consulting Services, noted that in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain there was near universal household ownership of refrigerators, at 99.5%. Freezers also have a high penetration (73%), among households. This would have only increased in the past four years, and the chilled trade to the Middle East alone is worth the same as the entire Australian live trade. Even in Indonesia four years ago, estimates of household refrigeration ownership were at around 60%.

        The refrigeration issue is a furphy, as is cultural or religious requirements – even if they WERE more important than animal welfare (and they are not and never will be), we have over 70 Halal-certified abattoirs in Australia and Islamic law for the slaughter of animals is very clear on the fact that stunning is acceptable.

  6. They will take their trade somewhere else.Can’t blame Abbott for this one. Educate the moronic bastards that kill them this way is the best solution. Alternately convert them to vegetarians either way loose a big trade CAN YOU AFFORD IT.

    2 REPLY
    • Things aren’t as bad as this photo lets us believe. Photoshopped again like the sheep photo, nothing stops the idiots

      1 REPLY
      • Turn on the switch in your brain that distinguishes between animals and make the connection. Just because we are the superior race does not mean we allow cruelty. Keep our cows here and process them here, clearly these people do not care. China has the worst reputation for animal abuse and Abbott is set to start shipping to China. God help those poor animals the only consolation I have is that they finally die and can’t feel the pain anymore. Poor things.

    • And what about the footage Dawn Bruce ? you think they photo shopped film of these animals being slaughtered inhumanly? wake up your living in fantasy land

  7. I am against live exports would like farmer to make comment so I can get their side as I know some prefer live

    1 REPLY
    • I’m not a farmer but am somewhat familiar with the industry. There are a large number of reason why live export continues and cannot be easily transitioned to a boxed trade. First of all it is a global trade – numerous countries ship livestock all over the world but Australia is the ONLY country that invests in animal welfare and training at the destination. I have friends who travel to markets and abattoirs all over the world and literally train the people working on the kill floors how to do things properly. It is a big job to do and they are very passionate about delivering improvements. No other countries do this. If Australia steps away from the trade there are plenty of countries that will take our place as Brazil did when the previous government banned live exports to Indonesia a few years ago. Many of these destinations do not have the same power, road and refrigeration networks that we enjoy in Australia – people buy meat from wet markets and often check that it is still warm as that is how they can tell it is fresh and safe to feed their family. there is a big protein deficit in the diets of many people in these destination markets (don’t quote me but on average Indonesian people only eat about 2 kilos of beef a YEAR) so it is important they have access to safe nutritious meat. Also – most cattle used in the Live Ex trade would not be suitable for the pickier chilled beef trade which goes as a result of the processing is obviously much more expensive and goes to resorts/restaurants where people are quite happy to pay $30 for a 300g piece of cold country beef. Whilst this footage is always awful Australia being in the market means it will happen less and less and is monitored. And it would be niaive to think cruelty does not occur in Australia – puppy farms, live baiting, dog fighting…. But we don’t ban pet ownership. The live ex trade is very important to northern Australia and the people who buy our cattle at the other end.

      1 REPLY
      • Pretty simple really – by continuing to supply live animals to countries hwere they continue to be abused, we are sending a very clear message that we aren’t serious about animal welfare and we don’t really care what you do to “our” animals after you’ve bought them – this perptrates a cycle of abuse and cements our reputation as a backward nation who places little importance on animal welfare – profit and continuing markets being of a higher priority.

  8. If everyone stopped eating meat, there would be no need for animals to suffer this way.

    2 REPLY
    • Exactly. There is no need to eat other animals and the only justification offered by the supporters of live export or any kind of animal agriculture is that it makes money. Does profit trump ethics?

  9. Stop it. End of story

    1 REPLY
    • Actually that isn’t the end of the story… Do you think these countries will magically be able to afford buy refrigerated trucks to transport it and store it? Not everyone lives the way we do with our meat nicely packed in little plastic containers at a supermarket for $25 a kilo. And if Australia leaves the live export market do you think no ther country will step in and take our place as Brazil did when we banned exports to Indonesia? Australia is the only live exporting country that invests in animal welfare improvements in destination markets so do you only care about Australian animals or would you prefer to see improvements slowly but surely all around the world? It’s a very complex issue and ‘stopping it’ as you say would only lead to a drop in standards. It’s a big complicated world out there!

      2 REPLY
      • That is so true , Australian beef producers have invested over 30 million dollars in improving animal welfare in these developing nations. The rest of the world , and animal welfare groups total= $0 , in investing to improve animal welfare overseas. The Australian live trade is the only major industry investing in better animal welfare around the world. Check the facts

      • Yeah… it kind of is – when we terminated the live sheep trade to Bahrain because of their MoU breach, their imports of chilled Aussie sheep meat went from under 300 tons to over 13,000. Saudi has virtually replaced the live trade with us, with chilled because they don’t want to comply with ESCAS and similarly, when live trade was stopped to Egypt, chilled imports from us sky-rocketed.

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