Shame – Australia Says Yes To Live Export.

Barbaric practices exposed in Turkish abbatoir (content warning for distressing images and descriptions of animal cruelty).

Today, the Australian federal parliament voted against a proposed ban on the live export of food animals.

Footage of Australian sheep tethered by a leg and flailing before their throats were cut and others left alive staggering with knife wounds in Turkish abattoirs has been aired by activists.

Animals Australia filmed cows, in an abattoir where Australian cattle are slaughtered, strung up by a leg, writhing, with their throats only partially slit.

Lyn White recorded the images in one of Turkey’s largest cities in late July and earlier this month and released footage at parliament house this morning.

How much more evidence does the Australian government need? This cruelty goes on day after day and it is relentless. Each individual sheep or cow we send for slaughter crammed nose to arse on these boats and carried off to a painful death (if they don’t die on the ship on the way) is no different than my darling cats, or your dogs, or your hamster or whatever other pet you keep. They feel pain, they feel fear, they feel happiness and love. They may not speak in any language we understand, but they can certainly express all these emotions and sensations.

Wiliam Wilberforce was a British politician between 1780 and 1825, and one who worked tirelessly for the abolition of another seafaring trade of living beings – the trade of slaves. Those who opposed his proposal for the abolition of the slave trade cited economic reasons for continuing, and partook in parliamentary time wasting, denial, hostility and even overt distraction techniques, but Wilberforce never faltered. He famously said “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

And that was what Greens MP Adam Bandt and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie took with them to Parliament today for the vote on live animal export. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Gillard did not allow a conscience vote, instead forcing MP’s to vote along party lines.

As a great fictional wizard once said “Soon, we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Today, the Australian Federal Parliament faced the choice between what was right, and what was easy, and made the easy choice.

For shame, Australia.

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