Endemic animal cruelty in live export trade reveals safety issues

Today the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union condemned the live export trade as a barbaric practise that not only brutalises Australian livestock but puts the health and safety of meatworkers in developing countries at risk. This follows the shocking video aired on 7.30 Report last night showing Australian animals being brutally killed in Vietnam by sledgehammering.

The images shown last night are abhorrent and go against the very core of our industry’s values. There is simply no reason animals need to be virtually bludgeoned to death in a way that would be not only extremely distressing for the animals, but also unsafe for workers involved,” said AMIEU National Secretary, Graham Smith.

“Since the show aired, I’ve been inundated with calls from meatworkers across the country determined to express their outrage at what they saw last night.

“The dark side of live exports is not limited to concerns around animal welfare. Last night Australians caught a glimpse of the dirty, decrepit and downright dangerous conditions in which Vietnamese meatworkers are forced to earn a living.

Australian meatworkers stand united in condemnation of the live export industry, the horror it knowingly inflicts upon innocent animals and the exploitation of Vietnamese workers to which it has turned a blind eye.

As part of the Australian Government’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), exporters contract auditors to check overseas slaughterhouses in destination markets to ensure systems are in place to facilitate the humane and hygienic slaughter of Australian animals.
“It’s clear that the live export trade is corrupting the system in place to protect our animals and industry. There are inherent systemic issues where Australian regulation is being breached and it’s costing our domestic meat processing industry as a result through live animal supply tensions.

“It’s evident there’s an absence of effective OHS regulations that mean Vietnamese workers face safety risks and unhygienic working conditions at these facilities.

“The live export trade has yet again turned a blind eye to the animal abuse endemic to the trade and its devastating effect on the Australian meat industry and the 55,000 workers it employs locally.

ESCAS is a charade. It is a system designed to perpetuate the very abuse and exploitation we are told it is working to prevent.
“The truth is that the system has been corrupted and systematically circumvented since its inception. The Department, Minister and industry are all aware of these breaches yet not a single exporter has been sanctioned under ESCAS.

“The Abbott-Turnbull Government has rubber stamped the development of a dirty and dangerous sweat shop slaughterhouse industry in Vietnam at the expense of meat processors back home

“Exporters have been given no reason to take their responsibilities seriously and they know that Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce will protect their interests no matter what issues arise,” said Mr Smith.