A FEDERAL Labor MP says Australians should feel outraged that taxpayer dollars have been spent on "an investment in animal cruelty".
Federal Labor MP Melissa Parke says Australians have the right to feel outraged that taxpayer dollars have been spent on "an investment in animal cruelty in Indonesia".
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Australia has provided over 100 Mark I boxes to Indonesian abattoirs at a cost of $1 million to taxpayers and another $1 million to industry body Meat and Livestock Australia.
But in a report released on Wednesday, Australia's acting chief veterinary officer Mark Schipp found the boxes cause undue injury and distress to cattle, thereby breaching international slaughter standards.
The federal government, which suspended funding for further Mark I boxes in June to coincide with its month-long suspension of live exports to Indonesia, has since made the ban permanent.
Ms Parke, one of several Labor MPs who oppose live exports contrary to the party line, said yesterday the boxes inflicted "trauma and torture" on Australian animals, and both major parties were to blame.
"Taxpayer funding contributed to the installation of these devices," she told parliament.
"Financial contributions from government towards these boxes were made under both parties' watch and the community has every reason to feel outraged that this has effectively been an investment in animal cruelty in Indonesia."
Australia suspended live exports to Indonesia between June and July after graphic footage of inhumane slaughters was shown on television, sparking a public outcry.
But despite the government's insistence that it has improved animal welfare standards as a result, Ms Parke said there has been a "steady trickle of disturbing evidence that points to the culpability of the live export industry".
Recent footage released by animal activists suggest international breaches in Turkish abattoirs, where sheep and cattle were filmed being strung up by their hind legs and their throats sometimes stabbed.
Ms Parke believes the majority of Australians want to follow in the footsteps of New Zealand and ban live exports.
In the meantime, she said at the very least, stunning should be made mandatory, as it is in Australia apart from halal killings.
She dismissed the belief that stunning of beasts wasn't possible in Middle Eastern markets, arguing Jordan is proof it does work.
Eighty per cent of Australian animals sent to Jordan go to facilities that stun, while the remainder will be upgraded as a matter of course, Ms Parke said.
Labor MPs have received a letter from Princess Alia al Hussein of Jordan, urging Australia to mandate stunning.
"It is important for countries in my region which have yet to implement animal protection laws, to see that the Australian government places great importance on animal welfare and ensuring that animals are humanely treated throughout the process," Princess Alia wrote.
"There is no greater indication as to what our next steps should be than this direct request from one of our major customers to set the bar higher," Ms Parke said.
"If live export is to continue for the foreseeable future, the very least we can do is to properly protect the welfare of animals and the most basic protection we can afford them is pre-slaughter stunning.
"Australians expect it; producers have overwhelmingly signalled they want it; religious authorities accept it; there is no reason not to do it."