Live Animal Exports

The reports of the alleged mistreatment of Australian livestock can only be described as shocking and disgusting.

When in Government, Labor established the strongest live trade and animal standards in the world.  The key element is the Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) which monitors and regulates the movement of livestock along the supply chain.

Labor believes Governments should be able to provide all Australians with confidence in the management and regulation of our live export industry. Heavy sanctions and penalties can be applied for breaches of ESCAS. They range from suspension of an export licence, the cancellation of a licence, or indeed imprisonment. It also provides exporters with incentives to do the right thing because minor breaches should bring more oversight, regulatory burden, more regulatory delays, and more costs.

Labor supports the appropriate and timely application of these penalties and believes that ESCAS regulators must be able to demonstrate in a transparent way, that exporters are accountable for any demonstrated breaches.

Labor has been highly critical of the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s failure to increase ESCAS resources to keep pace with growth in trade. To this end Labor has called on the Government to appoint an independent inspector General for Animal Welfare and Live Exports.

Australians need to have confidence in the management and regulation of ESCAS. The Minister for Agriculture needs to prioritise the investigation into any allegations and demonstrate that those who are found to be breaching the system will have penalties applied to them.

Labor has continued to raise the issue of live exports and has moved that the Minster for Agriculture provide quarterly reports to the Parliament on the live export market including details of any allegations of breaches of animal welfare standards, investigations undertaken and sanctions arising from found breaches.

In addition, as Deputy Chair of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit I have requested that the Australian National Audit Office conduct a performance audit of the ESCAS system. If we are to continue to allow live export, we must have confidence that we have and are implementing the strongest protections for animal welfare in the world.

Labor is committed to strengthening ESCAS to provide a regulatory system that is good for animal welfare, good for farmers and good for exporters.

I have received many emails asking if I support prosecuting live exporters who repeatedly break Australian laws.  I feel that anyone who breaches these laws should be prosecuted.

Labor will continue to fight any plans to wind-back animal welfare protection it put in place while it was in government.

I understand that this response may disappoint you, but it is my position.

© 2013 Pat Conroy | Disclaimer