AUSTRALIA - Australian cattle exporters and government have said inhumane treatment of animals is unacceptable after footage emerged from Animals Australia of cruelty in a Vietnamese abattoir.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said the video depicts abhorrent and indefensible treatment of cattle at an abattoir not approved to receive livestock exported from Australia.
Animals Australia also alleges that Australian cattle are being supplied to non-approved abattoirs in the Phu Xuygen district and of non-approved practices being used in ESCAS approved abattoirs.
The department said its first priority is to ensure the humane handling of all animals exported from Australia, and that a thorough investigation of this evidence has begun.
DAWR also met with Vietnamese authorities, who have agreed to look into the allegations and report on their findings.
In a statement, the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council said: "The industry fully supports the Department’s decision to commence an immediate and thorough investigation. Australian livestock exporters have also taken immediate steps to interrogate control and traceability systems and will be announcing additional response measures in the coming days.
"Australian livestock exporters are responsible for cattle to the point of slaughter and any movement of cattle to facilities outside of approved supply chains can constitute a critical breach of Australian regulations.
"If any exporters are found to have deliberately breached their obligations then harsh penalties do apply."
The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) was established to ensure international animal welfare standards are met at every point in the Australian live export trade.
It is a condition of ESCAS that all exporters must maintain control of supply chains and the movement of exported animals. Exporters unable to maintain this control will have supply chains or market access revoked.
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