October 24, 2011
Australia revises live export rules
Australia's agriculture minister Joe Ludwig made changes in live export rules by requiring exporters to be responsible for the cattle they export even once they are overseas.
Senator Ludwig has accepted all recommendations made by the Farmer Review into live exports following a Four Corners expose and live trade suspension earlier this year.
Senator Ludwig said the changes were about ensuring the industry was put on "a sustainable footing for the longer term".
Exporters have responsibility to show animal welfare issues were "taken care of" right through the supply chain, according to Senator Ludwig.
Animals will need to be handled and processed at or above international standards; exporters will be required to "control" and "trace" animals right through the supply chain, and will be required to conduct independent audits of the supply chain.
No contracts for live export will be given unless government can be shown an auditable and verifiable system which delivers the animal to slaughter.
Senator Ludwig admitted some of these costs would be borne by exporters.
However review author and former Indonesian ambassador Bill Farmer said it would not guarantee all animals were treated well.
Stunning will not be made mandatory.
The Farmer Review also recommended the roles of state and federal governments be clarified with regard to live export. The changes will come into effect in three stages beginning next February.
National Farmers' Federation president Jock Laurie said live export created competition in the marketplace "which we certainly need". He said other countries had realised they needed to address welfare issues to the point of slaughter.
"We're very happy and we're happy the trade will remain open," Mr Laurie said. He thanked Senator Ludwig for a "good balanced approach to live exports going into the future".
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said stunning should have been made mandatory. The RSPCA said it was "profoundly disappointed" stunning would not be compulsory.