I wish to make it clear that the Australian Government condemns cruelty to animals and that Australia has world class animal welfare standards in this country.
The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) continues to raise awareness of the importance of animal welfare in importing countries and has resulted in increased training and infrastructure improvements. The Australian industry has trained more than 9000 people in Asian and Middle East supply chains since the introduction of ESCAS in July 2011, improving animal handling, husbandry and slaughter techniques.
The government continues to support the industry’s efforts to improve animal welfare standards. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, recently committed $8.3 million to assist with the implementation of the Livestock Global Assurance Program which will complement ESCAS and aims to ensure animals are treated in accordance with international guidelines throughout a supply chain.
Australia is the only one of more than 100 countries that export live animals that requires World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) welfare standards to be met as a minimum for exported livestock. If Australia’s livestock export trade were to cease, it would be replaced by countries whose trade is not underpinned by international animal welfare benchmarks.
The government remains convinced of the benefits that this industry delivers to the nation’s economy, to local communities and to rural families at the farmgate. At the same time, the government remains absolutely committed to ensuring the welfare of animals is protected in this trade.