The ACTU congress on Wednesday voted unanimously to support a motion moved by the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union (AMIEU) to end the live export trade.
“I’m very proud to have the support of the whole union movement for the AMIEU’s motion to end live exports,” said AMIEU NSW secretary Patrician Fernandez.
“Time and again we have seen the horrific conditions animals are subjected to on board these live export vessels. Attempts to regulate the industry have failed,” she said.
“The government must develop a plan to phase out the live export trade. We call on the government to invest in Australia’s meat processing industry and invest in promoting our chilled meat export trade,” Ms Fernandez said.
The motion called for an end to both the sheep and cattle live export trades.
The AMIEU claims about 3000 jobs could be created in abattoirs if an appropriate transition plan to end live exports was put in place.
“We know that regional Australia has a huge unemployment problem. Ending the live export trade and investing in the meat processing industry here in Australia would create jobs in regional Australia, and ensure that animals are processed humanely and in line with Australian community standards,” Ms Fernandez said.
“The Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare in 1985 recommended that the Government should encourage the expansion of the chilled meat trade with the aim of replacing the live export trade.
“More than 30 years later we are still seeing exactly the same problems in the live export trade.
“It’s time to act. Farmers and industry need certainty. It’s time to transition away from live exports, invest in Australian jobs, and ensure our animals are processed humanely in line with Australian community standards. I’m proud that is now the position of the Australian union movement,” Ms Fernandez said.