DESPITE the introduction of new welfare rules there have been at least five investigations into alleged incidences of cruelty this year.
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig's department has denied it is taking too long to examine breaches of the new system -- including the inhumane slaughter of thousands of sheep in Pakistan in September - saying they are complex investigations that take time, The Australian reports.
Political pressure on the Gillard government to end the live export trade has continued to build this year despite the introduction of new rules in the wake of the Indonesian live cattle export scandal in June last year, with concerned Labor backbenchers using the fresh allegations of cruelty to demand change.
Animal welfare groups have provided evidence to the government on alleged cruelty in three cases this year, from distressed cattle being poked with knife sharpeners in four Jakarta abattoirs in February, to 200 sheep being inhumanely slaughtered at an unapproved facility in Kuwait in August, to cattle being killed using "rope tripping" at an Indonesian abattoir in September.
The Department of Agriculture is investigating the claims as well as the cruel slaughter of thousands of sheep in Pakistan, reported by exporter Wellard Rural, after local authorities alleged the sheep were sick despite independent tests showing they were healthy.
The animals, according to Wellard, were "taken from our control" by Pakistani authorities and court action failed to stop it.
Footage taken by workers showed sheep being beaten, their throats sawn with blunt knives, and being thrown into pits while alive. The government was also forced to launch another inquiry just two weeks ago after shocking footage taken by an undercover journalist revealed cattle being "sadistically" abused at an Israeli abattoir cleared to receive Australian stock.
DAFF confirmed it had launched five investigations into alleged breaches of Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System in the last 12 months and only one had been completed. It found the Australian exporter did not demonstrate "an appropriate level of control" in its accredited chain.
Full story, The Australian.