A kangaroo court is “a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted”.(Wikipedia)
There is nothing worse than watching incompetent people doing an even worse incompetent job. That is what the latest Gaza animal footage portrays to me. No doubt cruelty inflicted because of people who obviously have no idea on how to handle a heavy, strong animal. The people feared the animal and feared for themselves, yet other onlookers had no real comprehension of what that animal could inflict and stood around watching the slaughter like a spectacle. To me the crowd actually indicated the lack of knowledge of the people in general. They stood close to animals throwing themselves around oblivious to how easily those animals could physically take them out.
The animals showed classic fight and flight characteristics, struggling, refusal to move forward because onlookers stood directly in their path. These scenes were nearly predictable on how they would be played out before they even happened, knowing that the treatment for the animal from the onset was bad and would only get worse. The final requirement was obviously the animal needed to be killed but the process used to do that was miserable and completely lacked any respect or animal welfare considerations. Actually it lacked any people welfare considerations too but I’m concerned with the direct treatment of the animal here.
Like me, many producers I’m sure would have seen exactly what the outcome of the animal being dragged off the truck was going to be before he even moved from the truck, the straining of being held by a rope, the animals obvious reluctance to jump out of a truck when people were in front on him. The slipping on concrete with stairs of all things and the incompetent cutting at times in that video and others as the person tried to stab rather than make a decisive clear incision with an adequate knife. The slaughterment weren’t in a good position to cut or had no control of the movement of the animal, leverage or opportunity to do the throat cut properly. Even the fact there was a crowd of people would have stressed the animal immensely in most scenes. Obviously a complete and utter lack of facilities and a total breakdown in any form or animal welfare consideration was apparent for all the videos.
The ones I watched were jerky and short shots, jumping from scene to scene of various incidents. I’m not sure if due to filming or my internet capabilities. The poor fella who was kneecapped, Well he had obviously broken his restraints and was giving the handlers a well-deserved rubbing for their incompetency and was shot, why the hell the bloke with the gun didn’t shoot him in the head is beyond me. I don’t know if these animals had to meet Halal, from what I’ve read concerning halal then the stress of the animal and pain wasn’t Halal anyway and therefore I don’t think relevant to defence of the treatment inflicted on these animals.
This is not how I would like my animals to be treated if they happened to be sent there and there is absolutely no doubt that it was a disgraceful display of animal handling ability. As for being the worst I have seen, this was bad but no the animal with a broken leg tortured in Indonesia footage filmed 2010 was by far worse.
As far as I know I have never sold to LSS and I don’t know of orders they have had in the past in the NT therefore it is easy to say for me I wouldn’t sell to them, but I do feel for the producers who supplied these animals. There is a degree of good faith the producer has to place in the fact that an exporter must have pre-approved supply chains through the Australian Livestock export standards and then ESCAS to be allowed to export animals. It is not the producer I feel is accountable here it is the exporter and their responsibilities to uphold the requirements of ESCAS. Failure to do so should invoke very stiff penalties.
The jury is out on who these Gaza animals were and their origin, I don’t trust Animals Australia and as the usual blind devotee to AA, RSPCA have jumped in to add their voice instantaneously to the choir of calling a ban. These animal rights groups are not judge jury and executioner as they seem to think they are, just the accuser. LSS, the WA based exporter who is charged with supplying these animals deserves a right of reply to defence. For that we need to wait. In the new found world of social media that is a foreign concept.
DAFF will have a process they follow and for good reason, procedures and protocols of investigation will enable a through investigation to look at all the facts and information. Trial by social media is neither productive, fair or an honest representation of circumstances and facts.
Flowchart from DAFF concerning the process of investigation of non-compliance Investigations concerning ESCAS.
There are serious questions that need to be considered in the live export supply chains as reports are conducted;
Is ESCAS effectively implementing a system that is assisting in the protection of Australian animals exported to overseas destinations?
In my opinion (in regards to cattle as that is what I deal in) Yes. I do believe ESCAS has created a framework on which to build consistent, methodical and strong animal welfare principals and rules of which the exporters follow and as a producer while I understand ESCAS is higly expensive I’m glad it is now in place to form an animal welfare framework. I believe Indonesia is a shining example in many areas of improvement in the supply chain of animal welfare from education, participation, improvement in practices and investment by Australia in ensuring the traceability of Australian animals is paramount and followed through.
Australia sent 66,580 cattle to Israel in 2013 up to the end of September (13% of all LE cattle sent from Australia for same period), approximately 50,000 in each of 2012 & 2011 and just over 43,000 in 2010. All animals intended for slaughter, no dairy or breeders.
ESCAS will never be a perfect system; there will never be the ability to absolutely guarantee that animal welfare standards will be met at all levels simply because we are dealing with too many unknown factors and changes in circumstances the biggest ones being people and animals.
I can’t give guarantees I can meet all animal welfare requirements on my own property for the exact same reasons. But I can certainly conduct procedures to make sure I give my animals and myself the best chance to ensure their welfare and if I don’t, which happens I hopefully learn and make improvements. I do this not because its law or I’m worried about someone with a camera hiding behind a tree I make improvements to animal procedures to improve animal welfare.
In the case of exporters and ESCAS, if the threat is the exporter could lose their licence to export, they lose their ability to earn income. It just doesn’t make sense that an exporter wouldn’t comply to ESCAS if their intention is to continue live export, if they are so blasé to flaunt the rules intentionally and not keep control of the animals in their supply chains then no doubt they should lose their licence to export.
Are there penalties and are they adequate for those who breach ESCAS?
DAFF will establish the animals origins and their movements in these supply chains then find out if, why and where the animals left the supply chain.
In all honesty I don’t know the specifics of what penalties are applicable. I will be watching with interest if exporters are found negligent or intentionally allowed animals to be removed from the supply chain and what the outcomes of those findings will be. Ultimately if the exporter is found to purposely breach ESCAS then they should lose their licence to export.
As a producer if we can’t trust ESCAS to uphold what we want, which is ensuring as best as possible adherence to positive animal welfare in our export markets, then I wouldn’t expect others to believe its principals either.