The logical conclusion of the findings of the Moss Review is that the live sheep trade must come to an end, says the RSPCA.
RSPCA Australia Senior Policy Officer Dr Jed Goodfellow said the report’s damning revelation of the rot of the live export industry and the failure of the Department as the regulator is long overdue, but changes proposed won’t be enough to end the inherent cruelty.
“The government is kidding itself if it thinks the Moss Review recommendations are going to fix the live sheep trade,” he said.
“This is the third damning review of the live export trade we’ve seen in fifteen years, and the same problems keep reappearing – a callous disregard for animal welfare, inherent conflicts of interest and an impotent regulator,
“This review is based around the premise that the live export trade enjoys the unwavering support of government regardless of its failings and catastrophically bad performance. That’s the mindset that really needs to shift,
“The findings of the Moss Review show the importance of putting animal welfare and scientific evidence at the centre of the regulatory system,
“In fact, if these findings were actually acted on, live sheep exports would be unviable, which is why we need an orderly transition to a meat export trade,” said Dr Goodfellow.
Dr Goodfellow also said the RSPCA had no faith in the Department’s ability to change, given a number of recent incidents.
“Astonishingly, the Moss report’s release comes less than two weeks after the same Department approved a new export licence for RETWA, a company with strong links to disgraced exporter Emanuel Exports and arguably the worst remaining live sheep exporter in the business,
“We’re also yet to see any of the evidence gathered by these much-lauded departmental observers on board, despite multiple and ongoing attempts by the RSPCA to have that evidence released under Freedom of Information laws,
“And behind the scenes and as recently as last week, our experience with the Australian Standards for Export of Livestock review process have confirmed these conflicts prevail,” said Dr Goodfellow.
For more than three decades, the RSPCA has repeatedly called for independent and external oversight as well as consistent and proper enforcement of live export standards.
“So it’s reassuring at last, to see our role and significant contribution formally recognised in the Moss Review,
“But what we really need to see is the RSPCA’s previously recognised role in providing input in decision-making and standard-setting around animal welfare reinstated,
“The fact is Australians can never, and should never, have any confidence that animal welfare will ever be assured in the live export industry,” said Dr Goodfellow.
“These immediate improvements are welcomed in the interim, but the sooner we can commence the phase-out of this volatile and risky trade, the better,” he said.