Animal rights group Animals Australia are calling for the government to suspend live export trade to Vietnam, after they obtained horrific footage of an Australian cattle being ‘sledgehammered to death’ in a non-approved abattoir in the north of the country.
They have chosen not to release the video to the public at this time on the grounds that it is “too distressing”, but said in a statement: “Anyone who sees this vision will have it imprinted on their memory for life and recognise that this cannot be allowed to continue.”
[WARNING: We’ve published the photo in full below. It is distressing, so if you don’t want to see it, don’t scroll to the end of this article.]
They’ve lodged a complaint to the Department of Agriculture, and are meeting next week with representatives of the Australian Live Exporter’s Council.
In Vietnam, it is traditional to kill cattle and buffalo through “repeated blows to the head with a sledgehammer”. It is also the second largest export market for Australian cattle, with 178,000 live animals exported there in 2014.
“It is unforgivable that animals have continued to flow into Vietnam and in huge numbers when they have been at ongoing rick of such extreme cruelty,” said Animals Australia spokeswoman Lisa Chalk.
The earlier statement from Animals Australia adds: “Despite the industry’s admission that they don’t have control over the Vietnam market and that potentially thousands of animals have been subjected to horrific abuse, the government has continued to allows ships full of cattle to leave for Vietnam on a weekly basis.”
Speaking at a press conference in Darwin this morning, Joe Hockey said that no such halt on live export trade to Vietnam will occur.
“Frankly if there is one country or one place that is actually undertaking an inhumane treatment or terrible treatment of animals, then it is proper to react to that one instance,” he said.
“But you don’t close off the food supply to many countries where they have very low income, or don’t have the supply of protein, on the basis of a single report alone.”
“That was the mistake the previous government made, we are not going to make that mistake. We are going to investigate thoroughly.”
Ms Chalk has dismissed these claims.
“This is the eight complaint about live export breaches in Vietnam that the government has “investigated” in two years, and today Australian cattle are still being hit over the head with sledgehammers,” she told Pedestrian.
“‘We’re investigating’ is the government’s default media line but the problem is that these investigations never lead to positive outcomes for animals, and despite ongoing evidence of live export companies breaking the rules, government investigations never lead to appropriate sanctions.”
“The only acceptable solution is to suspend trade.”
Images via Joe Hockey’s Twitter account and Animals Australia.