Live Exports to Saudi condemned

5 May 2005

The Australian Democrats have condemned the announcement from Minister for Agriculture Warren Truss that live trade to Saudi Arabia will resume.

"The Minister's suggestion that building a quarantine shed will resolve all the disease, animal welfare and economic issues surrounding this outdated and cruel trade is unrealistic," said Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett.

"With Meat & Livestock Australia reporting a 75% increase in frozen lamb exports to Saudi Arabia in 2004 whilst the live trade has been suspended, it seems ludicrous that the Government is knowingly undermining the carcass trade, especially in order to export live animals to a country that has rejected Australian live shipments on at least 12 occasions in the last 16 years.

This huge surge in frozen meat exports, which creates far more Australian jobs, will be instantly demolished with the unnecessary resumption in the cruel live export trade.

Yesterday Senator Bartlett put questions on notice to Minister Truss in an effort to ascertain conclusively the cause for the Cormo Express rejection in 2003.

"It is ludicrous that the Government has yet to make this information public. While there are doubts surrounding the reasons for rejection, how can we be reasonably assured that those problems have been addressed?

"This trade will never be humane. Given that the industry body has suggested distorting the true mortality rates is a legitimate animal welfare measure, I continue to have serious doubts as to whether exporters are committed to mitigating the suffering of the animals they callously send on long sea voyages.

"Minister Truss' decision is bad for Australian jobs, bad for the animals involved, and may well blow up in his face when the Saudis find fault with further shipments."



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