CRUSADING by some groups to end the live export trade took another twist this week when the RSPCA claimed the industry was not operating to world best practice.
The claim attacks a two-year-old report by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) which compared the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) and overseas standards.
The RSPCA said Australia’s much-touted live export controls are not standards because they cannot be effectively enforced under current arrangements.
Dr Jones said MLA releases a number of reports each year and while this one was noted at the time of release the RSPCA felt that industry and the Government had been claiming more in the past year that Australia had world best practice standards.
“We wondered if that was true and so went back through the report and from that analysis we don’t believe the report provides evidence to back up that claim,” she said.
Dr Jones said the mortality rate was only one indicator of the live export industry.
“It is a very blunt indicator and we are still talking about tens of thousands of animals every year,” she said.
“The big concern for us is that the trade will never have control over what happens to the animals in destination countries.
“While the industry makes claims about the work they are doing in the Middle East, it is really only the tip of the iceberg.”
RSPCA chief scientist Bidda Jones said despite “constant boasting” by the live export industry and the Federal Government neither had any grounds to claim the standards for live exports were world’s best practice.
“Standards cannot be classed as world leading when the standards themselves are effectively unenforceable,” Dr Jones said.
MLA general manager of corporate communications and livestock exports Scott Hansen said it was disappointed with the RSPCA’s criticism.
“We always thought we had a workable relationship with the RSPCA and the fact they have come out and criticised a report that has been out in the public domain for two years now is surprising,” Mr Hansen said.
“Even more surprising is the fact that the RSPCA has actually been involved in the formation and monitoring of the ASEL through their representation on the Livestock Exports Standards Advisory Committee (LESAC)."