The Department of Agriculture must either cancel or suspend the export licences of the exporter involved. Only real penalties, not Mickey Mouse ones, will act as a deterrent against these practices. It has the power to take the export license off this exporter and it should use it.
Minister for Agriculture, Joyce, has said “no one supports animal cruelty but investigations aren’t about shutting down the trade, they’re about policing it – the way an officer polices the roads”. Officers police the roads by taking dangerous drivers off them. That is what should happen here.
The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, says, “The existing system is designed to ensure that animals are not mistreated”. It clearly isn’t achieving that objective – so real action is needed.
The live export industry has no business talking about a return to self-regulation in the light of this revelation, along with the recent case of Jordan, where 10,000 Australian sheep exported to Jordan "leaked" from approved supply chains, and were sold in unofficial markets.
The live export trade is not only a failure of ethics but a failure of economics. We should move towards a viable alternative – a local chilled meat export industry that protects and creates more Australian rural jobs, results in higher profitability through value added opportunities, and delivers decent and humane animal welfare.