For Immediate Release:
15 June 2020
Group Proffers ‘More Appropriate’ Desktop Memento if Government Bans Live Export
Canberra – As yesterday’s international Ban Live Export Day actions again shone the spotlight on Australia’s own live export, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sent a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison offering him a new “I Stopped These” boat trophy for his desk – this time featuring a live-export ship.
“We know you take pride in your current boat trophy, which ostensibly celebrates your work to stop migrant boats during your tenure as immigration minister,” the group writes. “However, considering that boat ‘push-backs’ have been condemned by a United Nations expert, as they ‘may intentionally put lives at risk’, while a live-export ban would actually save lives, we believe that this new trophy from PETA would be more appropriate – and something you could truly be proud of.”
Numerous investigations have revealed rampant cruelty aboard live-export ships. In the past 30 years, over 2.5 million animals have died during their weeks-long voyages aboard cramped, sweltering vessels – from starvation, dehydration, respiratory illness, heat stress, and salmonellosis. Others are trampled to death or drown in their own waste. Of course, the suffering doesn’t end when the ships dock in the Middle East, where weak animal protection laws mean the animals are subjected to abuse and slaughter methods that are illegal here.
Referring to the recent coronavirus outbreak aboard the live-export ship the Al Kuwait, PETA points out that animals aren’t the only ones who suffer in the live-export trade. “Conditions aboard not only exacerbate the risk of contracting viruses but also expose crew members to dangerous levels of ammonia, carbon dioxide, and highly flammable methane – from the animals and their waste,” reads the letter. In 2016, veterinarian Dr Lynn Simpson spoke out about human rights concerns within the industry, saying, “What shocked me most [about live export] was the disregard for humanity and the poor conditions that many seafarers are forced to endure.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – notes that stopping the ships at the heart of a cruel industry that violates human and animal rights alike would be a move worth applauding and says it’s ready to reward a compassionate decision by the federal government to end live exports for good.