Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Please sign our open letter to Kevin Rudd to end cruel live exports

We need your help to get the Australian Government to listen and put a stop to cruel live exports. Can you spare 5 mintues to sign our open letter to the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd?

Thank you.

Sign our open letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd >

Animal welfare issues and live exports

The export of live sheep, cattle and goats for slaughter has serious welfare problems — some relate to transport conditions resulting in high mortalities and others relate to a lack of control over what happens to animals once they reach the importing countries.

Farm animals exported from Australia face a journey of up to 35 days from the farmgate to their overseas destination. Prevailing weather conditions and requirements of the importing country can considerably increase the length of the journey. The main welfare concerns relate to high mortality (due to starvation, salmonellosis, heat stress and pneumonia), the duration of lot feeding prior to embarkation, ship design, environment, handling, management and contingency planning.

Apart from the general suffering resulting from long-distance transport there is a history of disasters at sea in which thousands of animals have died. On long voyages, mortality rates of 2% for sheep and 1% of cattle will trigger an investigation. So on a voyage of 70 000 sheep, 1400 must die before the cause of death is properly investigated.

Once livestock reach their port of destination, those animals that survive and are unloaded are outside the control of Australian law. The Australian Government cannot ensure that exported livestock are slaughtered humanely once they have left Australia. Evidence gathered from importing countries has shown that inhumane slaughter and handling practices, that would be contrary to Australian laws and standards, are common.

At their destination, exported animals may spend several months at a feedlot for fattening, or may be transported directly to a slaughtering facility, or sold to individual buyers. Evidence has shown that individual buyers in some countries will often transport sheep in car boots and on roof-racks in temperatures that may exceed 40°C. Cattle can be seen travelling on the back of utility trucks with only a few ropes to prevent them falling off.

Sheep have been shown being herded into a slaughtering facility, and then dragged one by one to the slaughtering area. Here their throats are cut and they are left to bleed to death over a drain. In some importing countries, cattle face an even more horrific death. In the slaughtering hall, they have their tendons slashed and sometimes their eyes gouged in order to bring them down and, finally, they have their throats cut and are left to bleed to death. All this happens in front of other cattle awaiting a similar fate. Cattle and sheep destined for ‘home slaughter’ are no better off and may face even crueler slaughtering methods.

In Australia, the slaughter of livestock is strictly regulated. Animals intended for slaughter must first be rendered insensible (stunned), then killed before they can regain consciousness.

The adoption of a chilled and frozen meat-only trade would prevent the suffering of long-distance sea transport. It would also save millions of animals from the cruel fate awaiting them at their destination.

The annual Festival of Sacrafice (Eid al-Adha)

Australian sheep are, right now, starting to leave for the Middle East for the annual Festival of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha). Last year we condemned around one million sheep to this cruel fate.
During the festival, thousands of sheep are slaughtered in homes, on footpaths and in overcrowded abattoirs. The sheer scale of the slaughter makes this period one of the worst times for animal suffering in the Middle East.
2009 has been a turning point for our campaign to end live sheep exports. Thanks to economic work we commissioned by ACIL Tasman, we now know that farmers don't rely on the trade to make a living and in fact Australia is losing rural jobs because of it.

ACIL Tasman revealed that ending the trade won't significantly impact farmers or the economy; it would immediately create an extra 2,000 jobs; and it would boost our sheep meat exports (which are already four times more valuable to the economy than live exports). The RSPCA has laid out a positive way forward that would secure farmers livelihoods, reap dividends for the economy and importantly, end the suffering of four million sheep every year.

We need your help to get the Australian Government to listen. Can you spare a few moments to join the Get On Board campaign and sign our open letter to the Prime Minister?

Sign our open letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd >

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