Tuesday 20 Oct 2020 | 16:54 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 20 Oct 2020 | 16:54 | SYDNEY

Animal trade: Australia should muck in


Andrew Carr


7 June 2011 14:07

Sam's post on animal exports yesterday echoed the sentiments of many Australians by arguing 'Surely something needs to be done in light of this new information'. It does, but how we do it is important.

The 'pure' option is to ban the live animal trade. Unfortunately, this will only result in a substitution of animals from other countries instead of Australian ones. Meanwhile, Australia's ability to influence the practices and regulations inside abattoirs will be effectively zero. Unless you are nationalistic about our cows, this is a bad option.

Rather, we should copy from Australia's uranium trade, where we have established ourselves as a leading non-proliferation and nuclear safety voice. By being willing to sell uranium, Australia has been able to set minimum nuclear safety standards (some of the toughest in the world) for purchasers, and have a day-to-day role offering technical advice and deciding safety protocols. Can we guarantee no Australian uranium has ever gone astray? No, but we can demonstrate a huge increase in Southeast Asian and global non-proliferation standards thanks to our involvement.

A similar practical approach for the live animal trade  — continued sales in return for a role setting standards — would bring real improvements in animal welfare.

Photo by Flickr user joysaphine.