Last week on ABC radio's Bush Telegraph http://www.abc.net.au/rural/telegraph/content/2012/s3436609.htm I was interviewed about animal welfare issues. I pointed out that very few people know what's going on with animals - how they are treated, how they are harmed, whether their care meets community standards etc. The host responded by saying 'but animal welfare problems are being exposed'. That is true, but it isn't the government that is learning about them and responding. It's animal protection groups.
If Lyn White from Animals Australia wasn't prepared to spend her time inside Indonesian slaughterhouses how would we ever know what's going on? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-28/new-footage-shows-cruelty-at-indonesian-abattoir/3858230.
This morning Fran Kelly did a fantastic job interviewing the Minister. She pushed him to describe the auditing system and to explain how animal welfare violations would be uncovered without the work of groups such as Animals Australia and RSPCA Australia. He had no response: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/2012-02-29/3859074.
Is this how we monitor public policy in this country? Leave it to not-for-profit agencies to do the work of the state?
This is a very sad day for animal welfare policy in Australia. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil seems to be the guiding principle at work when it comes to live animal exports and Australian public policy.