Pair move to pre­vent don­key ex­ports

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK -

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.

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