Issues Magazine

Live Export Auditing System Fails Australian Animals


RSPCA, 4 April 2013

RSPCA Australia is demanding urgent improvements be made to the auditing system used by the government to give overseas abattoirs Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS) approval following the release of a report into shocking animal abuse at an Israeli abattoir.

The report, released by DAFF, claims that because footage aired last year on ABC’s 7:30, showing extensive animal cruelty at the Bakar Tnuva abattoir, was taken prior to the first consignment of cattle being exported under ESCAS, no breaches were made and therefore no regulatory action will be taken.

“The footage was horrifying. It showed sheep being aggressively beaten, thrown and dragged by a single leg to move them towards the slaughter area. Injured cattle were seen being repeatedly shocked with an electric prodder around the face, eyes and genitals,” said Lynne Bradshaw, RSPCA Australia President.

“Nowhere in this report is it explained how this facility passed the initial audit, despite DAFF acknowledging that OIE standards were being breached. How did an auditor go into this facility and approve it when there were serious inherent issues in animal handling and slaughter?

“Once again it’s been the job of independent bodies to report on these horrifying issues. If this footage had not been taken, no second audit would have been required and the facility would have continued to function as it was – inflicting shocking abuse upon the animals in its care.

“The fact that a facility like this, with such entrenched problems, can pass an ESCAS audit has the potential to cast a huge shadow over the entire supply chain assurance system. The entire process rests on the veracity of the auditing arrangements.

“There are some serious faults in the audit system that need to be addressed immediately if the Australian public is to have any trust in this scheme. If the live export trade is to continue for now, the Australian government must immediately improve the current auditing system to ensure this situation does not re-occur.

“Live export is inherently cruel – from both an animal welfare and economic perspective – and planning for a future without it is in the best interests of Australian animals and a sustainable livestock industry in this country,” Bradshaw says.