A trio of Investigation Reports released this week have again highlighted the federal government’s inability to adequately penalise live exporters found to be mistreating Australian animals overseas.

The reports investigated alleged breaches of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), including sheep and goats being sold outside of supply chains in Jordan and Malaysia, and cattle being inhumanely handled and slaughtered at an abattoir in Malaysia. All three investigations found evidence of non-compliance.

A number of conditions have been placed on future exports to these locations, but no action has been taken to penalise the individual companies involved.

The Jordan investigation found that ‘there were approximately 1100 Australian sheep in the photographs and videos’, which depicted sheep being held, handled or slaughtered at 26 roadside stalls and markets, and yet only eight of those animals could be tracked to a specific exporter – Livestock Shipping Services (LSS).

“Over a thousand sheep were ‘lost’ from the supply chain, and yet those responsible for their on-selling will go unpunished because individual sheep could not be linked directly to the exporter.  This makes a complete mockery of the system,” said Ms Heather Neil, RSPCA Australia CEO.  

 “Without the ability to individually identify every sheep, determine where it came from and with which company it was exported, the government is powerless to fully discipline the exporters responsible.

“Even though the government has recorded a ‘major non-compliance’ against the exporter identified (LSS),  they remain able to export sheep without the requirement to track individual animals through the supply chain.

“If the government is serious about ensuring the welfare of Australian animals exported live then individual identification of all sheep prior to export must be made a condition of export,” said Ms Neil. 

For more information or an interview with an RSPCA Australia spokesperson, please contact:

Elise Meakin, 0419 748 907, emeakin@rspca.org.au