MEMBER for Keppel Bruce Young has hit back at claims the live export market supports animal cruelty, as he begins feasibility studies into a Port Alma export market.
A letter to the editor from animal welfare activist Lyn Laskus criticised plans to begin exporting live cattle from Port Alma to Asia, claiming the export market supported animal cruelty.
But Mr Young said according to 2011 data, 99.85% of cattle exported by sea arrived at their destination fit and healthy.
His aim is to double cattle numbers in Queensland and give producers options in the market for both live exports and meatworks.
Exporters are currently required to comply with state and federal government animal welfare regulations, including the Australian Standards for Export of Livestock.
This covers the preparation of livestock for the voyage from the farm through to on-board care.
They must also comply with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System from the discharge to the point of processing.
Townsville is the closest export market for the central region, and Mr Young said the city didn't have enough meatworks to put all cattle through.
He also said around northern Australia, cattle were exported live because of monsoonal weather conditions which flooded properties and prevented mustering camps from working for more than half the year.
"The high cost of running a production of meatworks in northern aspects of Australia requires a workforce that is going to maintain that plant operation 12 months a year," Mr Young said. "We can't have processing works in northern Australia that can only work effectively for six months."