Animal Voices

Priorities: thousands of people have attended rallies across Australia to protest against live animal exports

Thousands rally against live export trade

It never ceases to amaze me that so many people are prepared to protest against  animal cruelty. How come these people can’t be bothered to rally against the genocide of Hindus in Kashmir,  Christians in the ME,  Christian Copts in Egypt, blacks in Darfur,  the hill tribes in Bangladesh or the Christians in Indonesia, or the jihad against Israel?   I suspect many of them throw hissy fits for the “Palestinians” and scream “free free Palestine” in front of Max Brenner Chocolate shops, when they don’t “save the whales” or muselmanic ‘refugees’.

Make no mistake: these misguided tools are hurting our farmers.

“Stop the animal holocaust”.

PHOTO: People attend a rally to ban live animal exports in Melbourne on October 6, 2012. (AAP: Tim Watters)

Thousands of people have attended rallies across Australia to protest against live animal exports.

The protests follow the release of video showing Australian sheep being inhumanely killed in Pakistan.

Police estimate 500 people gathered in central Sydney, waving banners with messages like “stop the animal holocaust”.

Around 1,500 people turned up at a similar protest in Adelaide, while hundreds attended rallies in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart and Fremantle.

The protests were supported by Animals Australia, the RSPCA and the Australasian Meatworkers Union.

Speaking at the Sydney rally, Clare Mann from Animals Australia recalled how many protesters had stood at the same place a year ago, following a program on ABC’s Four Corners that showed cattle being mistreated in Indonesia.

“Our heads were bowed in despair, grief, pain and disbelief at what we saw,” she told the Martin Place crowd.

“Disbelief that somehow we had lost something very important in our societal values.

“Even though those animals do not have a voice, we are their voice. We will not vote for a party that sanctions live exports from Australia.”

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon told the crowd it is possible to halt the live export trade.

“Politicians can stop this industry at the stroke of a pen. The harder we work the quicker it will be finished.”

The Greens were not the only political party represented at the rallies.

Federal Labor MP Melissa Parke addressed the Fremantle rally, calling for a total ban on live exports.

She says once animals are sent overseas, their fate is beyond Australia’s control.

“Thousands of Australians are rallying around the country today because live export is a bad business,” she said.

“Australians have had enough of seeing on the nightly news the tragic fate of yet more Australian animals shipped overseas, most of them from this very port without adequate protection.”

In Hobart, independent MP Andrew Wilkie told the crowd it is time for the Government to take action.

He says the issue is bound to feature at the next Federal election.

“It is cruel, it is not in our country’s economic self-interest. If these politicians don’t care about the animals then at least care about the economics,” he said.

“The live trade has cost Australia many thousands of jobs as the abattoirs are being closed down and we send the beasts overseas to be slaughtered.”

The protests follow the brutal slaughter of almost half a shipment of 21,000 Australia sheep in Pakistan last month.

The sheep were killed before a court order was obtained by the owners halting the cull.

The Agriculture Department is investigating claims some were buried alive.

The fate of the remaining sheep is now likely to be decided by the court on October 17.

The Opposition is urging caution over a ban, saying the focus should be measures preventing the poor treatment of animals.

The Government argues the regulation of the live export sector is working.

Peter Kane from the Australian Livestock Exporters Council says the welfare of exported animals has improved dramatically over the last year.

“In the case of Indonesia, for example, 15 months ago, 18 months ago, probably only 15 per cent of the cows that we sent up there were stunned,” he said.

“Now it’s 85 per cent. This is a massive transformation of our industry, and we’re very proud of that.”