RSPCA versus Agforce on proposed Port Alma live export

AGFORCE and the RSPCA have drawn out their guns in the debate over the proposed live export venture for Port Alma.

RSPCA, Elizabeth Shanahan

In fact, the Rockhampton RSPCA Branch president is completely against it.

She is concerned about the treatment of animals once they leave Australia, and claims legislation to protect the treatment of animals from the farm to the point of processing isn't being policed.

"I'm not against eating animals, but if you've got to eat an animal it's got to be produced, transported and slaughtered humanely," she said.

She argued this could be done by opening more abattoirs in Australia so they could be monitored.

She referred to shocking footage captured by Animals Australia in 2011 showing cattle being brutally slaughtered in Indonesia, which led to the halt of the live export trade.

"Goodness knows what else is going on when no-ones watching them," she said. "We know it's a cruel industry."

Elizabeth said the animals suffer from motion sickness, over-crowding, poor ventilation and bad animal husbandry practices.

"Once they reach their destination, that is if they live that long, they are subjected to the most barbaric treatment."

Agforce's Ian Burnett

Ian Burnett from Agforce at Belmont Station to announce the grazing industry's BMP.
Ian Burnett from Agforce at Belmont Station to announce the grazing industry's BMP. Chris Ison

With no end of the drought in sight, AgForce general president Ian Burnett said the opportunity for live cattle exports would assist farmers doing it tough.

AgForce is part of the new live export steering committee, which is working towards creating a live export market out of Port Alma.

Mr Burnett said in the current market, graziers could expect a higher price for exporting cattle than they could if they went to the saleyards.

"Anything that will maintain a better price or provide a more regular outlet (for graziers) is necessary," he said.

Mr Burnett said this would be achieved through Port Alma.

On the issue of animal welfare, Mr Burnett said there was a "very high standard" in place to protect exported cattle.

He said concerns were "ill-founded" as exports were "very closely regulated and maintained" by state and federal governments and the Australian Standards for Export of Livestock.

Graziers would not tolerate animal cruelty.



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