RSPCA Australia has called on the Federal Government to resist attempts to water down regulation of the live export industry.
In a submission to the LGAP (Livestock Global Assurance Program) Committee, the RSPCA says new proposals from industry would lead to self-regulation and less government oversight of an industry which has seen shocking breaches in animal welfare.
RSPCA Australia‚Äôs Senior Policy Officer, Dr Jed Goodfellow, said RSPCA‚Äôs submission to the Committee had raised deep concerns over the implications of the ‚Äúgovernment hands-off‚Äù proposals from the industry.
‚ÄúThe LGAP process is industry-driven and funded. It has been promoted on the basis that it is ‚Äòindependent of government‚Äô and may appease foreign markets that have opposed the current Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS),‚Äù said Dr Goodfellow.
‚ÄúThe industry needs to answer some crucial questions; what does ‚Äòindependent of government‚Äô mean, if not self-regulation, and why is this program expected to open markets that have opposed the ESCAS, like Saudi Arabia, if it does not remove Australian Government regulation from the process?‚Äù
RSPCA will object strongly to any proposals to remove strong government oversight and regulation of the industry.
‚ÄúThis industry has proven itself to be utterly incapable of effective self-regulation. History has shown that when the industry is left to its own devices, animal welfare is neglected and cruelty ensues,‚Äù said Dr Goodfellow.
‚ÄúThe industry does not have the confidence of the Australian community to self-regulate.
‚ÄúLGAP also seeks to shift the responsibility for the humane treatment of exported animals, from exporters to the abattoirs and feedlots in foreign jurisdictions.
‚ÄúWhile we welcome further quality assurance focus on these facilities, Australian exporters must continue to bear ultimate responsibility for the welfare of animals sent into these markets.
‚ÄúReducing this responsibility will reduce their incentive to ensure their supply chains are able to comply with animal welfare standards before animals are sent to them,‚Äù said Dr Goodfellow.
Submissions to the Committee closed on Friday.