Live animal exporters who do the wrong thing could face up to 10 years behind bars and fines of up to $4.2 million or more, under sweeping changes to current legislation introduced to Parliament.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said amendments to the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997 and the Export Control Act 1982 will better protect the welfare of exported livestock and put a stop to those who choose to cut corners for commercial advantage.
“I want to make sure that the punishment matches the crime and under new laws if exporters don’t meet animal welfare obligations they face up to 10 years in prison,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Companies who look to profit from dodgy practices will be slapped with a fine of $4.2 million, three times the benefit gained by the company or 10 per cent of the company’s turnover–whichever is greater.
“A director of a guilty company could face 10 years in prison or a fine of $2.1 million.
“We want the financial and other penalties to be harsh enough to act as a deterrent instead of being viewed as the cost of doing business for some of these companies.
“The horrific footage we witnessed recently makes it clear standards have been ignored by some in the industry and animals have suffered terribly as a consequence—that won’t happen again under my watch.
“Livestock exports are an important business option for our farmers. Australian farmers, and the Australian public more broadly, deserve to know that our world leading animal welfare practices are well supported by legislation.
“The Government is showing its commitment to the live-stock export trade and that sub-standard practices will not be tolerated now, or in the future.
“Australia is a proud exporter of high quality, clean produce that meets extremely high standards set by our international trading partners, and the changes being introduced to the current and future export legislation will ensure our reputation remains firmly intact.”
Source: Australian Government