The post on the Greens page has been hidden from people who are not my friends on facebook.
I wrote this following a speech Lee Rhiannon gave in parliament 13.03.13 – Latest report on Live animal voyage deaths.
Hi Lee Rhiannon. Remember me, the NT cattle Pastoralist who asked questions regarding the ramifications of a ban on Live export!
Listened with interest to your speech today. Particularly the part of how easy it will be to replace Live export markets with meat processing carried out in Australia.
I’m interested to know where all these markets are for meat that you say are ‘expanding enormously’. Considering you think that the Live animal exports earnings as meagre, at $8.4 billion. These potentially untapped markets available to only Australia must be enormous in deed! I’d appreciate if you just sneak a little note over to some of the meat exporters I’m sure they’ll be enthralled to know where to look, do you think they aren’t looking now?
I see you also like working with the farmers, not sure if many people up here call themselves farmers, please at-least attempt to use the right terminology, Pastoralists, that’s me. Your not much of a conversationalist though are you when it comes to answering questions. Not to worry, let’s look at your speech.
You like to use the term ‘tens of thousands’ a lot, not as in a lot of animals but you use it a real lot. The first being in reference to the 20,088 animals reported to have died in the live export voyages in the past year, just over 2 lots of ten thousand actually, good dramatics there Lee! How conveniently you didn’t mention that the cattle loss in comparison to all sent was only 0.11% and sheep 0.88%. Let me put that in perspective for you as a ‘working with the greens Pastoralist’. If you want to compare death rates to other real life scenerios in this place called the real world, you have to compare apples to apples, so talk percentages. We have losses on property simply through wild dog predation of over 3% calves, that’s only what we find, we don’t find them all and I suspect realistically the percentage is more like 6-10%. We allow a 2% death rate of cattle simply from day to day operations for a year. This is being optimistic at best and can escalate horribly if ‘shit happens’, like those pesky things called droughts and floods.
The other ‘tens of thousands’ you refer to is the job creation in abattoirs expected if Live export stopped. Maybe you can hunt out the current employment rates in abattoirs but some old ones I found had employment rates across Australia in abattoirs (not including poultry or the NT) in 82/83 as 42,773 workers, less in 89/90 29,942. Close to tens of thousands terminology, a heck of a lot yes and important, definitely. Now you’re saying that the closing of Live export will suddenly not only match employment rates for meat processing with new jobs but actually double them or more if ‘tens of thousands’ was actually an accurate term. WOW, Interesting. Please expand on that idea a little? Oh, those figures were from the Meat Processing report (1994) you supplied when you attempted to answer my question 3 concerning abattoirs. You really should have read the whole 500+ page document rather than extract one sentence from it. In there is written several reasons why abattoirs had closed over the preceding years and in fact recommended more to close that were unable to meet Quality assurance standards. Pay careful attention to references to labour productively and government regulation if you can be bothered.
So from your perspective, we stop live animal export, we suddenly have ‘tens of thousands’ more jobs created and the supposed markets are there to sell too. Do you actually touch the ground when you walk or just float up there with the fairies? I can assure you my arse is firmly on the ground at present, Raise your glass and be proud plenty of your friends are.
Your forgetting a number of minor issues that abattoirs have to contend with irrespective of the existence of live export or not, Do you magically expect these problems to disappear if Live export did. They being
- Reliability of supply of animals due to weather conditions, ie droughts. Just because live animal export stops doesn’t mean getting cattle fat gets any easier.
- Reliability of the labour force to actually want a job and assumption that the unions and employers can all get along. Neither have a good record in that regard.
- The Australian dollar will be favourable to export prices. Just like it always is!
- Markets will be always be there paying a price that is higher than the cost of production in Australia, Hope you can keep a secret! Australia is one of the most expensive meat processors in the world, now!
- That Government won’t over-regulate and over burden the whole agricultural community including abattoirs. Governments constant increase in taxes/rates/registrations, expectation of employers to save their butts because they are grossly incompetent and can’t even do a basic budget, and actually stick to it. Like normal people have to!
- That costs such as electricity, water, gas and other services won’t price the abattoirs out of competition. Heard anyone complain about those issues lately Lee?
- Now the big one – Imports won’t undermine our meat processing sector in the long term. Because that’s not happening now with any other agricultural product in Australia, is it Lee? Right?
Back to your riveting speech Lee, animals are ‘uprooted from large grazing pastures’, ever seen a heifer pack raped by too many bulls in a yard. Work with wild bulls in yards and you’ll have a whole new meaning of ‘uprooted’ as you float over the top rail. If you can’t think of one while airborne you will when you hit something coming back down, the ‘up’ may be decidedly lacking, but you’ll feel every bit of the rest.
‘Loud, noise and vibrations’, that’s interesting. If you ever work a large mob of cattle be very, very worried if you hear them go deathly quiet, it means they’re about to rush. Rampaging stampede is imminent. We used to sit a wireless on our yard posts to help keep cattle calm and not get startled, especially at night, we still play a radio to weaners in the yard all the time, bet you don’t believe me!
‘Sheer magnitude of distress these creatures endure as they are transported’, seriously Lee who wrote this crap! Many cattle gain weight on export ships, distressed cattle don’t gain weight Lee, contented calms one do, like the 625, 823 cattle or 2,180,592 sheep that were unloaded off the 231 voyages in 2012, Oh sorry 99.89% cattle and 99.12% sheep.
Do you need a new speech writer, I may need a job soon, this one’s not paying, I have an awful feeling our mortality rate is going to go sky high this year, May be slightly over the 2%, hope that’s OK.