Greens 'attacking ag': Joyce

02 Apr, 2014 01:00 AM
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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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READER COMMENTS

qld mum
3/04/2014 4:05:07 AM

I will take the Greens seriously when they BAN all pet ownership (some people treat their animals horribly) Grow up greens. The world is not perfect. The vast majority of live export animals are treated well from birth - the best the producer can give them in nutrition, handling and vet care - through to their final destination and YES being a food source for PEOPLE....I love to think of children and adults across the world enjoying a meal of healthy Australian Beef or Lamb. YUM. Perhaps advocates of our Industry should promote pictures of kids with big healthy smiles eating Australian meat.
Barker
3/04/2014 7:51:53 AM

Live export = barbaric animal cruelty and those who support this trade have nothing to brag about. No compassionate government would lower animal welfare standards as Australia has -- simply to suit the brutal handling and slaughter methods that are common place in many of these importing countries. Cruelty is nothing to be proud of and I congratulate the Greens for their compassion.
Mranda
3/04/2014 8:37:36 AM

Never has Barnaby spoken so much sense. It is nice to have an Ag Minister with such a passion for the industry. As for the Greens, banning an Australian industry from supplying a market overseas? How will this improve animal welfare? All it will do is move the issue of live export welfare completely out of Australia's hands and into the hands of another willing supplier.
ando
3/04/2014 12:33:15 PM

Obviously Barker you have no idea of this issue, other than the rubbish put forward daily by the Greens and a few animal libbers. Far from lowering animal standards, Australia has raised them well beyond International levels and continues to lead the world in animal welfare, none more so than in the live trade. If you had actually been to those countries and personally witnessed the so called brutal slaughter methods instead of just believing the propaganda and doctered film footage you might have a credible argument. Research your topic, don't just be a lemming!
Frank Blunt
3/04/2014 12:41:38 PM

This is just a religious crusade by the greens to turn us all into vegans and ban all meat eating. Never expect any common sense from the greens. The world has moved on from the garden of eden and humans will continue to eat meat. Get used to it.
genazzano
3/04/2014 4:23:55 PM

Can we export the Greens ??????
Dallas Beaufort
3/04/2014 5:51:53 PM

Barnaby should tell that to the local councils and their state Governments who hold onto the greens policies with a vice like grip.
Bushfire Blonde
3/04/2014 6:43:21 PM

Lee, what are the details of the Compensation package that the various parties involved in the Live Export Trade will be entitled to when you force the ban of this legitimate trade?
Wendy Davidson
4/04/2014 10:46:25 AM

Barnaby Joyce a true Advocate for agriculture and common sense. Thanks
Jacky
4/04/2014 2:33:51 PM

Barny, your CSG paymasters are more a risk to me than the Greens
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