Greens 'attacking ag': Joyce

02 Apr, 2014 01:00 AM
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has lashed out at Greens' moves to ban live export.
Producers will not be held to ransom by the Greens and their extremist backers any longer
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has lashed out at Greens' moves to ban live export.

A MOVE by the Greens to block Australia’s live export trade has come under fire from Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

The Minister inspected the loading of the livestock carrier MV Al-Shuwaikh in Fremantle on Monday as a ship load of sheep set sail to Bahrain, marking Western Australia's resumption of live exports to that market after an eight-year hiatus.

“Every sheep on this boat is a reflection of someone who is getting a cheque back to their kitchen table,” he said. “It is a good trade and I stand behind it.”

Mr Joyce said a Greens bill to ban live animal exports – to be reintroduced in the Senate this week – was part of the party’s “underhanded tactics” to “attack agricultural competitiveness in Australia”.

The disallowance motion to be introduced into the Senate by Senator Lee Rhiannon seeks to prevent the resumption of live animal exports to Egypt. If successful, it would have a significant impact on livestock producers, particularly in WA, Mr Joyce said.

The Greens and the RSPCA have voiced strong concerns over the continued use in Egypt of full inversion slaughter boxes, currently allowable under the Australian government’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) framework, but Mr Joyce said Australia’s welfare standards were “unparalleled by any other country”.

RSPCA Australia chief scientist Dr Bidda Jones said the decision to resume trade with Egypt was “premature” and the emphasis should be on first improving welfare standards before opening up more markets.

“Despite previous arrangements having many of the hallmarks of ESCAS, they failed to protect Australian cattle from significant and ongoing cruelty - how can the Australian public trust it will be any different now?” she said.

Mr Joyce said the agricultural sector in Australia had nothing to be ashamed of.

Neither the government nor producers would be “held to ransom by the Greens and their extremist backers any longer”, he said, and banning live export would also deprive Australia’s export partners of access to some of the “cleanest, greenest high quality protein in the world”.

“The government’s agenda is crystal clear - we are about boosting Australia’s agricultural competitiveness and increasing returns at the farmgate and one fundamental way of achieving that is opening up and building on our trade relationships,” Mr Joyce said.

The Greens have ramped up longstanding calls to replace live ex with a boxed meat trade, in response to the reopening of several closed live export markets.

The resumption of trade with Egypt and Bahrain follows reports of significant increases in exports to Indonesia, with recent confirmation of second quarter permits to that market for around 273,000 head of cattle.

Senator Rhiannon last week claimed the Agriculture Minister was looking after “a few wealthy pastoralists” instead of focusing on employment growth opportunities in regional Australia.

“Opening up abattoirs across regional Australia would create thousands of jobs and help secure Australia a stronger place in the expanding international trade in processed meat,” she said.

“The fact that record boxed lamb shipments were sent to the Middle East in the last fiscal year and that Bahrain has totally replaced Australian live sheep imports with the import of Australian meat shows that there is a viable and more humane alternative.”

The Greens’ bill to ban live exports was first introduced to the Senate in June 2011 by Senator Rachel Siewert prior to the temporary suspension of live exports to Indonesia. It was reintroduced by Senator Rhiannon in March 2012. Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt introduced a similar Greens bill into the House of Representatives in 2011, and in February Independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie introduced a bill to phase out the trade over three years - his fourth legislative attempt to stop Australian live animal exports, despite vocal support from both sides of the House for continuation and expansion of the trade.

“Australia produces and exports livestock according to animal welfare and production standards which are unparalleled by any other country,” Mr Joyce said.

“The government will strongly oppose this latest attack on Australian livestock producers by the Greens and stand behind our commitment to boosting the competitiveness of agricultural production.”

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Frank Blunt
2/04/2014 8:19:48 AM

Who would listen to one word Lee Rhiannon had to say. She is known to have been a member of the communist party , so I hardly think she has Australia,s best interests at heart.
Political nonsense as per normal.
2/04/2014 8:23:58 AM

Shame Rod you cant think. The RSPCA are doing what they must do and that is opoose animal cruelty. Live animal exports is cruel. Ergo...they oppose cruel live animal exports. We all know Joyce doesnt care about animals or welfare or decency or compassion or respect. He is about profit...profit and more profit. SHAME on you JOYCE.
Territory Paul
2/04/2014 8:54:06 AM

and "daw" how about if they also told the truth for a change
2/04/2014 9:57:55 AM

I love how all the townies come on an ag publication site believing everything their Dear Leader Rhiannon says. The Greens are no different then their colleagues in the lies they continually tell to further their own agenda.
Katrina Love
2/04/2014 11:06:40 AM

Regardless of Bahrain's other imports of live animals or boxed meat, the fact remains that prior to the MoU breach and subsequent suspension of live sheep trade by Australia to that country, they were importing approximately 229 swt of chilled sheep meat from Australia. Since the suspension, that rose to over 13,000 swt - that represents over 600,000 sheep stunned and slaughtered in Australia, under Australian law, to Australian standards, by Australian workers. The LNP have just put a a nail in that coffin and shipped those jobs, that value-adding and those animals offshore. Shame Australia.
2/04/2014 12:26:43 PM

Careworn, why exactly is live export cruel? The animals are well fed, monitored for signs of stress, and air-conditioned. I think it is cruel for humans to live in high rises but I guess you haven't thought about that.
city chick
2/04/2014 2:41:35 PM

I'm a "townie" "city folk" and I support Live Export. Doesn't matter where you are from we are Australians that should support our industries. Do not tarnish all of us with the same brush
2/04/2014 2:49:17 PM

There is nothing inherently cruel about live export, there have been cases of cruelty at certain destinations. The real campaign should be to improve these areas, such as industry is doing rather than to simply walk away and say it is all too hard like the Greens and associated animal libbers would prefer. You want real cruelty look at the number of pets that are mistreated in Australia compared to livestock.
Jo Bloomfield
2/04/2014 4:07:01 PM

Lee Rhiannon fails to realise (though told lots of times) that abattoirs in the north paid $50 -$100 per beast delivered prior to LE development. What sort of fool wants us to go back to that? She also fails to recognise that abattoirs across Australia face increasing pressures in costs, I suggest she look at government costs, labour and management of abattoirs (Young - NSW) before declaring how it is so easy to set up new ones and blaming LE for meat processing woes.
2/04/2014 7:14:42 PM

I agree. The fact that Barnaby Joyce thinks its ok because famers need the money is an acceptable justification to continue to support the inhumane treatment of animals in the live export trade. Stop attacking the Greens and those that believe that animals must be treated humanely Mr Joyce and others. Thank you Lee Rhiannon.
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