THE poor decisions around the 2011 live export ban keep coming back to bite us.
There were massive implications for those left stranded with cattle that lost any appropriate sale avenues because of the trade suspension.
The impacts are still felt today.
Cattle prices were crushed, exacerbating the impacts of what has become a severe and increasingly widespread drought, damaged political relations with Indonesia, and now it looks like taxpayers will be slugged, as those directly affected seek compensation.
In its initial decision the Labor government was focused more on the opinion polls and bowing to pressure from Animals Australia and the RSPCA (helped by the ABC’s taxpayer funded campaign-style broadcasts) than making any logical progress in the area of welfare.
The whole affair was a great profile boost for Animals Australia’s campaign director Lyn White, who has shown little concern for the ability of graziers to deal with the new animal welfare issues which arose at home after the live-ex bombshell was dropped – let alone the graziers’ welfare.
What does she think happened to all the livestock left in paddocks that producers could no longer afford to feed?
The cruel reality is those graziers would have had two options: helplessly witness a good number of cattle perish from starvation, or take matters into their own hands and shoot them to prevent their suffering.
The Export Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS) and Australian Agricultural Company’s abattoir are two positives to have emerged in the ban’s wake, but these changes could have been brought about differently.
While the ban is often described as an over-the-top, knee-jerk reaction, then agriculture minister Joe Ludwig had initially proposed an inquiry into animal welfare that was quickly knocked on the head by the Labor party.
An inquiry might have created the opportunity for a more practical, targeted solution to develop without putting trade relationships and the welfare of people and animals at risk.
Meanwhile, those who pushed for the extreme measures are allowed to continue along their merry way, doing the same thing, while graziers and taxpayers pay for the irreparable damage those activists had caused.