In my view 37 breaches is way too many and the two exporters should have their licences suspended or even cancelled.
The Department Deputy Secretary said if further animal welfare breaches occur they would face the possible loss of their export licence, but you have to wonder how many chances they get. When the trade was resumed last year after being suspended, the Government said the industry was on notice, so I think the public would expect that any exporters now found to be treating animals inhumanely would be run out of the industry.
Even more worrying for me than the question of penalty is the fact that it wasn’t industry self-regulation that brought these breaches to light, it was Animals Australia- Lyn White and her little video camera. You have to wonder whether we are really seeing the tip of the iceberg.
I think the only way we are going to ensure our animals are not being mistreated is to insist on mandatory stunning- that all animals are stunned before being killed. I further think we should be supporting proposals for the establishment of abattoirs in northern Australia, such as the Australian Agricultural Company proposal for Livingstone Valley south of Darwin, and transitioning away from live exports and into domestic processing, which is better for both animal welfare and for Australian jobs.