The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has received a complaint alleging the mistreatment of animals in Vietnam.
The Australian Government understands and shares the community’s concerns about animal welfare, and the desire to see action. Our expectation is that all animals should be treated in line with international animal welfare standards.
As the regulator of the livestock export industry, DAFF is working to establish the authenticity of the video files provided to determine whether the cattle are Australian and whether the abattoir depicted is part of an Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) supply chain.
Due to the seriousness of the animal mistreatment shown in the video footage, DAFF will undertake an investigation to determine whether there has been a breach of the ESCAS before categorically establishing the authenticity of footage.
If the animals are found to be of Australian origin, the department will then follow the standard investigation process.
As the independent regulator of the livestock export trade, the department has informed Minister Fitzgibbon about the complaint and the Minister will be provided with a report on the matter once the investigation is completed.
The introduction of ESCAS puts animal welfare at the centre of the livestock export trade and makes exporters and their supply chain partners accountable for the welfare of livestock from departure from Australia until the point of slaughter. As with any system, though, it is not people-proof.
Australia is one of more than 100 countries that export livestock, but the only one that seeks to ensure international animal welfare standards are met throughout the entire supply chain. The introduction of ESCAS has been the most significant reform the live export industry has ever seen.
Under ESCAS, Exporters commit to ensuring their supply chain partners will treat animals in line with internationally accepted animal welfare standards. Where evidence demonstrates exporters have not met this critical requirement, the regulator will impose additional conditions. These can range from extra surveillance and reporting, removing facilities from supply chains right through to loss of an exporter’s licence.
Under the ESCAS framework, exporters must provide DAFF with evidence that:
- livestock will be handled and processed through specified supply chains in accordance with the internationally accepted requirements for animal welfare established by the OIE through to the point of processing
- they have control of their supply chain
- they can track or account for animals throughout the supply chain
- they have independent audits of the supply chain to assess compliance with ESCAS requirements.