Slaughter standards 'missing the mark'

Slaughter standards 'missing the mark'


Beef Cattle
Meat industry consultant Brian Perrett.

Meat industry consultant Brian Perrett.

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DOES Australia's responsibility to ensure animals are humanely slaughtered end at our borders? Brian Perrett has grappled with the question.

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DOES our responsibility to ensure animals are humanely slaughtered end at our borders? Or is Australia obligated to ensure the humane slaughter of animals takes place, not just in countries we export to, but to all developing nations in our region?

Meat industry consultant Brian Perrett, like many Australians, has grappled with the question.

Mr Perrett began his working career at a slaughterhouse in St George, Queensland, in 1951 and has been involved in various roles in the beef industry since.

Following a stint in 2013, during which he was contracted to inspect and offer assistance to establish a slaughter house in Timor-Leste, he decided there was a need to educate other nations in the Asia-Pacific on correct slaughtering methods.

"I went and had a look at the facilities in Timor; this was a slaughter house that was built by the Indonesians prior to independence but not used," he said.

"It was a good building and they said: 'would you be able to kill cattle here?'

"With slight modifications we were able to, so I took a captive bolt gun over, taught people how to use it and they began killing five to six head of cattle per week.

"We built a butcher shop to make a market for the meat we were producing in this slaughter house."

Mr Perrett's aim is to set up a program to take captive bolt guns overseas and educate appointed representatives to travel to villages to ethically kill animals.

He made contact with Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and Meat and Livestock Australia - with varying levels of success.

"I believe we should endeavour to train people in the humane slaughter of not only our live export cattle but their local cattle," he said.

"It can be done quite simply by using stun guns that we use in Australian abattoirs."

Mr Fitzgibbon said Labor remained a strong supporter of the live export trade, and he believed both industry and government had a role to play in helping developing nations lift their standards and consequently, their productivity.

"Australia's interest in animal welfare standards reaches beyond our own borders," he said.

"Like human life, the welfare of an animal in East Timor or Africa is as important as the welfare of one here.

"The regulation of our own exports is lifting standards both here and in other countries which export cattle and sheep. But it does little to extend animal welfare standards to the domestic sector in developing countries."

Mr Joyce responded to Mr Perrett in mid-May and said he would ask the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer to raise these concerns with the Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

During Mr Perrett's time overseas he witnessed livestock being cruelly and inhumanely slaughtered on numerous occasions.

Countries such as Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Vietnam are signatories of the Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for Asia, the Far East and Oceania, which outlines human slaughter standards.

However, given allegations of animal cruelty surfacing in Vietnam earlier this year, Mr Perrett questioned whether the OIE and Australia's Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) were missing the mark.

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