Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Mistreated livestock ‘an embarrassment’ to Australian industry

February 10, 2012 abc.net.au

The Australian Meat Industry Council says footage of livestock being mistreated in an Australian abattoir shows the system has failed to protect animals. The New South Wales Food Authority shut down the Hawkesbury Valley Abattoir, north of Sydney.

Vision showed workers beating pigs being with a metal pole, and sheep being stunned incorrectly then hung upside down while conscious. The Authority will hold an inquiry into the practices. AMIC's CEO Kevin Cotterill welcomes it.

"It means that in this particular case, the system's failed. Obviously from the inquiry, we need to determine why it failed, how did it fail, what went wrong?," he said. "Was the training appropriate? Did the people understand who was actually operating, do they understand exactly what the regulations are that cover this?" The NSW Government has launched a review into all of the state's abattoirs as a result of the incident.

The head of the New South Wales food Authority, Peter Day, says as soon as they knew about the alleged breaches they took action to close the abattoir down. He says the vision is shocking and he thinks consumers will be upset and asking questions about the meat industry."I think there will be some questions asked about how these plants operate out there and what controls are in place and also why they have done what they have done in this case," he said."But I think as the regulator, what we have done is responsible. We have taken direct action with this place. "We will do a full investigation. This is a rogue operator I don't think this is representative of the entire industry."

Jeff Murray is the president of the meat section from the WA Farmers Federation. Mr Murray says he doesn't believe a review of Western Australian abattoirs is necessary. "I've never seen an abattoir where anything but the highest standards have taken place," he said. "The major works that are here in Western Australia...you wouldn't see animal welfare issues in those, I'm sure."

Lang Coppin from Yarrie Station in Western Australia, says he can't believe such cruelty would happen in an Australian abattoir. He says given Australia's condemnation of how some cattle were treated in Indonesia last year, this incident is an embarrassment. "Any other country which that we've been a bit critical of (over animal cruelty), after hearing this they'd have a grin on their face this morning," he said. "But it doesn't do much good does it? "With all of the issues (in Indonesia last year), you just cannot believe that an abattoir in Australia would carry on like that, and they obviously need to be rubbed out."

Mr Coppin says security cameras in all meatworks would not be necessary. "To put every meatworks in the same category and put cameras in them, is I think over the top," he said. "I mean particularly because we're talking about WA, there's only a handful of abattoirs and they're all very professional."

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