Following Ban Live Export Awareness Day, PETA has sent an offer to Prime Minister Scott Morrison: a new trophy in the shape of a boat for his desk if he finally stops the live animal export trade.
Of course, PM Morrison infamously already has a boat trophy on his desk which “celebrates” his work to stop migrant boats during his tenure as Immigration Minister. The trophy is engraved with the words “I stopped these”.
However boat ‘turn backs’ have since been condemned in a report by a United Nation’s global expert for their potential to“intentionally put lives at risk”.
Meanwhile, a live export ban would actually save lives – something Scott Morrison could be 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-hot boats; from starvation, dehydration, respiratory illness, heat stress and salmonellosis. Others still are trampled to death or drown in their own waste. Of course, the suffering doesn’t end when the boat docks in the Middle East, where weak animal protection laws mean they’re subjected to abuse and slaughter methods that would be illegal here.
As the recent coronavirus outbreak aboard live export ship Al Kuwait proves, animals aren’t the only ones who suffer in the live-export trade. Not only do conditions aboard exacerbate the risk of contracting viruses, crew members are also exposed to dangerous levels of ammonia, carbon dioxide, and highly flammable methane – from the animals and their waste. 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.”
It’s time for Australia to evolve beyond detaining living beings while risking their health and their lives, and instead determine to end suffering.
Stopping the boats at the heart of a cruel industry that violates human and animal rights alike would be a move worth applauding, and we stand ready to reward the compassionate decision by the federal government to end live export for good.
Live-sheep exports are supposed to be banned to and throughout the Middle East from 1 June to 14 September, however the government has already granted an exemption to this rule to pacify live exporters who had ships delayed by COVID-19. Also, the government’s own Heat Stress Risk Assessment review found that conditions on board live-export ships to the Middle East routinely exceed the heat-stress thresholds for Australian merino sheep between May and October. The ban is at least six weeks too short.
Please sign our action alert urging the minister of agriculture to implement a full ban on shipments during the recommended period: