Prevent the export of live cattle to China; delay the opening up of new live markets until the current ones are meeting animal welfare standards that would be acceptable in Australia and ongoing animal welfare breaches are addressed and prevented.
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This government and the regulatory requirements they have implemented for the live animal trade (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS)), fail to ensure good animal welfare outcomes in markets that take only a several thousand head of cattle per year (e.g. Mauritius) - how does it expect to ensure good animal welfare outcomes to a country taking 1 million head? Even if it was plausible, "good animal welfare outcomes" to this government, include animals having their throats cut whilst fully conscious. If animals are to be exported live from Australia, they MUST at least face handling and slaughter practices at or better than Australian standards that those animals would be handled and slaughtered under here.
Voyages to China last on average 19 days, with many lasting over three weeks, and one voyage from Fremantle/Portland to Lianyungang in July 2011 lasting 37 days.
Whilst the average mortality rate for cattle on these voyages is 0.15%, one 17 day voyage from Portland to Tianjin in Mar 2014 had a mortality rate of 2.04% or 49 of the 2400 cattle on board having to be euthanased due to injuries from bad weather. These figures are for breeding cattle, invariably worth more in dollar value than slaughter cattle, so it is safe to assume that care taken would likely be less for those animals with a lower monetary value.
China has an horrific record when it comes to animal welfare, most notably for dogs; if animals considered "companion" animals are treated by so many, so horrifically, how does that bode for "food" animals.
We demand that the Australian government stops exporting live animals to countries that have no animal welfare laws, standards or codes of practice and where we realistically have no control over how those animals are handled or slaughtered. Continuing to export animals to countries that have no animal welfare laws sends a very strong message that we don't take animal welfare seriously and that we condone the abuse we regularly see animals subjected to in importing countries.
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