Pair move to prevent donkey exports
Two Australian senators have moved to prevent the potential start-up of a donkey and horse liveexport trade before it starts.
Senators Lee Rhiannon and Derryn Hinch recently spoke out about the Federal Government’s plans to allow feral donkeys and horses to be exported for overseas slaughter.
The Turnbull Government last year prepared an amendment order to permit live donkeys and horses to be exported.
Ms Rhiannon and Mr Hinch introduced the Export Control Amendment (Equine Live Export for Slaughter Prohibition) Bill 2018 in Parliament this month.
Speaking in Parliament, Ms Rhiannon raised concerns about animal welfare conditions in China, saying annual demand for donkey skins was rising.
She said the trade was driven by “marketed demand” for the animals’ skins, which were “boiled into a glue and marketed in pills, bars or tonics”.
“Supporting this Bill does not require the shutting down of an industry,” Ms Rhiannon said.
“There are no jobs reliant on the live export of equines for slaughter.
“The thought that there is a legislative gap that could allow the live export trade to extend to more animals is very worrying.”
Demand for donkey skins is rising internationally, with renewed interest from China.
The WA Government has spent millions trying to eradicate more than 500,000 feral donkeys from the State’s far north during the past few decades.
Last year, then agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce endorsed a potential live donkey and trade as a business opportunity.
Donkeys were originally bought to Australia to cart loads as pack animals but population numbers are now difficult to ascertain.
These days, the wild leftovers are declared environmental pests under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007, and cause erosion and damage vegetation.