MEMBER for Denison Andrew Wilkie has slammed the federal government for delaying debate on a bill aimed at reforming live exports.
The bill was introduced to the House of Representatives by agriculture minister David Littleproud and would provide for higher penalties for exporters.
Another bill has been introduced to the House by government backbencher Sussan Ley and is to be debated on Monday June 18.
Mr Wilkie, a fierce critical of the live export of both sheep and cattle, accused the government of shutting down debate on a bill that would “go some small way to improve standards in the live animal export industry”.
“This was alarming in itself, but all the more shocking in light of the revelation in the last 24 hours of yet more cruelty, this time to Australian cattle shipped to Israel,” Mr Wilkie said.
“Quite simply the Federal Government doesn’t care one iota about animal welfare, and its claims to the contrary are bold-faced lies. Nor does it care about the way the live animal export industry has cannibalised the Australian processed red meat industry, costing thousands of jobs. All it cares about are its mates in the live trade.”
Mr Wilkie said it was undeniable the live animal export industry was systemically cruel, not in Australia’s economic self-interest and was deeply unpopular.
“Today’s developments are just the latest chapter in the big fat book of animal abuse that’s been written in Canberra over many years,” he said.