Cattle Council supports independent live export inquiry
17 June 2016
Cattle Council of Australia has thrown its full support behind the independent inquiry into the Vietnamese live export market announced by the Australian Livestock Exporters Council.
The inquiry was announced by ALEC as one of many additional measures in light of new animal cruelty allegations from Animals Australia.
Graphic video footage of allegedly Australian cattle being killed with sledgehammers in Vietnam was broadcast by the ABC yesterday.
President of Cattle Council of Australia Howard Smith said the footage highlighted the vulnerabilities of the trade.
Mr Smith said Cattle Council supported the immediate independent investigation into the Vietnamese market.
“The practices being used in this footage were completely unacceptable and in violation of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) standards,” Mr Smith said.
“Animal welfare is of the highest importance to beef producers within any sector of the beef supply chain.”
“If grass fed producers can’t have reasonable confidence that their cattle will be looked after once they enter the supply chain, then there needs to be an independent review of that supply chain to ensure the welfare of cattle.”
Cattle Council recognise the importance of the ongoing live export trade to the Australian grass fed sector and will work with the Australian Livestock Exporters Council to ensure that while the trade continues, producers and consumers can have confidence in the system and the welfare of the animals.
Cattle Council fully support the additional measures put in place by ALEC, which include:
- A three month independent inquiry into the traceability and control practices, systems, standards and objectives intended to support the ESCAS animal welfare requirements in Vietnam. The inquiry will be conducted by a panel of experts and report publicly.
- The immediate suspension of cattle supply to any approved facility named in the complaint and under investigation by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
- Permanently ban the supply of cattle to any approved facility in Vietnam found in critical breach by the Department.
Cattle Council will continue to be involved in discussions with ALEC on measures to provide further transparency on supply chain activities.
Cattle Council remains supportive of ESCAS but has emphasised the importance of ensuring full traceability of Australian livestock and preventing leakage into non-approved facilities.
In January 2015 Government released a report into ESCAS stating that in the years since its implementation in 2011, the industry has continually improved the welfare of exported Australian livestock.
“The situation in Vietnam isn’t representative of the entire system, but with a failure such as this it is essential to review that specific market to ensure the welfare of the animals in that supply chain,” Mr Smith said.