Pastoralist calls for a united approach

Kate MatthewsCountryman

Pilbara pastoralist and live export advocate Annabelle Coppin believes the industry needs to work together — producer, exporter and importer — to stop animal cruelty.

The Nuffield scholar spent eight months studying the live export trade and visited 16 countries, including Indonesia and the Middle East, two years ago.

“Any producer is going to be distressed at the images shown but what we must remember is the other side of the story — not every animal is treated like that,” Annabelle said.

The former Young Australian of the Year finalist said that during her visit to six Indonesian abattoirs, cattle were slaughtered to OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) standards and the mark boxes used correctly.

“Animal cruelty is not acceptable but the solution of banning the trade is like saying some people mistreat their pets in Australia, so no one is allowed to have one,” she said.

The 26-year-old said she supported the industry and had made it a career due to a strong belief that change could and was being made through the live export chain in Indonesia and other countries.

Despite the graphic nature of the footage, Annabelle said it would help to educate producers about where their animals go and help them work together as an industry instead of just leaving it to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

“The whole industry needs to support MLA’s work — if we work together to put pressure on the very end processors and abattoirs in Indonesia, we will get a quicker resolution to wipe out cases of animal cruelty,” she said.

“Indonesia is an extension of the Australian livestock industry. There are good and bad practices and if the solution is simply to put a ban in place when there is a problem, you may as well ban the whole livestock industry.

“The RSPCA needs to join our industry and help continue to improve animal welfare outcomes and not walk away from the problem.”

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