Fury over TV show 'expose'

23 Feb, 2006 01:03 PM

ANOTHER so-called expose on the live export trade will be aired on national television this Sunday.

As reported in Farm Weekly last week, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) will use the cattle transaction levy to fund a community awareness campaign.

Unfortunately, the campaign will not publicly kick off until after the potentially damaging current affairs piece goes to air.

The story previewed last Sunday, with footage of live cattle having their leg tendons cut.

It is claimed the cattle were Australian and that the cruelty took place at the Basateen abattoir in Egypt.

The television show also alleged the cattle had their eyes poked out.

MLA general manager of live exports Mike Haywood said the television channel responsible had refused to show the group all the footage.

"All we know is what we saw in the short promo footage," Mr Haywood said.

"What we saw is really bad and completely unexpected."

Mr Haywood said he had doubts as to the authenticity of the footage, in terms of when it was shot and whether the cattle were actually Australian.

He said MLA had spent a lot of time and money to ensure Australian cattle were not treated as the footage showed.

"We're confident that sort of thing doesn't happen with Australian cattle in Egypt," Mr Haywood said.

"What they are showing is a very one-sided picture of the situation.

"They put forward atypical incidences and portray them as the norm when they're clearly not."

The same television show has done three other stories on the live export industry over the past three years.

Needless to say the stories stung the industry, as they described the trade as a horror story.

Mr Haywood said he was frustrated that the crews had been led around by animal activists and had not attempted to look at the whole picture.

He said he was unhappy about the scenes shown, but if at the end of the day, they proved to be Australian cattle then an immediate and comprehensive investigation would ensue.

"If, and that is still a big if, they are Australian cattle then we'll do whatever we can to fix the situation," Mr Haywood said.

"Those scenes are unacceptable in anyone's terms and at this stage we don't believe that it does happen up there with our cattle."

WA livestock exporters association chairman John Edwards said he was concerned about the report.

"These media pieces are hyped up to the max," Mr Edwards said.

"They often use old footage and inaccurate information, which ultimately paints the industry in a negative light."


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