Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ABARE Report Exposes Live Export Myths

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Live export trade assessment report:
  • Confirms that live export is not a significant industry in Australia and pales in comparison to our boxed meat exports.
  • Confirms that most Australian farmers don’t live export.
  • Confirms that the vast majority of those who do are not reliant on the trade.
  • Indicates that for sheep farms involved in the trade (just 7% of ALL farms in Australia), live export contributes very little to total farm income (average 7%).
  • Finds that just 12% of northern cattle producers derive half their income from live exports (180 farms from a total of 1,500).
  • Dispels the myth that importing countries won’t substitute live animals with boxed meat – concluding that the Middle East, Egypt and parts of South East Asia will take meat from Australia when live animals are not available.
  • Finds that the potential for meat imports to substitute for live cattle imports has increased in recent years, reflecting improving availability of refrigeration and increasing supply of low-cost beef imports.
In 2011 the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU), estimated that some 3,500 direct employment meat processing jobs have been lost because of the Australian live animal trade. World Society for the Protection of Animals research indicates that the direct and indirect jobs created by growing the domestic meat processing industry would in fact exceed those that presently depend on the live export trade.

We should move towards the more viable economic alternative of a local chilled meat export industry that protects and creates more Australian rural jobs, results in higher profitability through value added opportunities and addresses the public’s legitimate welfare concerns. Doing so would better position us economically to take advantage of the changing demand for quality produce from the growing Asian middle-classes in the Asian century.

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