Animals In Print
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August 26, 2013

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Call to Ban Full Version Slaughter Boxes

 Activist group Animals Australia is calling on the live cattle industry to intervene and prevent animals being slaughtered overseas in full inversion slaughter boxes.

The boxes, which tip livestock upside down for slaughter are banned in Australia, yet through the live export trade, Australian cattle are killed in these boxes in some overseas markets.

National Farmers Federation chief executive Matt Linnegar says the boxes meet OIE standards as well as cultural needs for some countries.

Animals in Print slaughter box
A picture from the Animals Australia campaign to ban full inversion slaughter boxes (Animals Australia)

He says an immediate ban is not the right way to deal with trading partners.

"I think it's a matter of working with those people in those countries in education and moving those practices to where we'd like them to be," he said.

"You're not going to do it by banning things and telling people overseas how to run things.

"We want to see improved animal welfare practices and if that comes to a different design of a box then so be it, but I'm not going to stand here today and say 'in or out' on inversion boxes."

On its website, Animals Australia has a video, which it says is of an Australian animal being killed in an Israeli abattoir, using the full inversion slaughter box.

"This box would be illegal in Australia, the USA and the UK due to the extreme suffering it causes. But it is still deemed an 'acceptable' way for animals to die in the live export trade", the website states.

"We're reaching out to farming groups because despite our differences, if ever there was one issue we should agree on, it's that no animal deserves to endure this pain and suffering. And while live export continues for now, this needs to stop immediately."

Although the boxes are banned in the US under the Humane Slaughter Act, the act contains a broad exemption for all animals slaughtered in accordance with religious law.

Kosher meatworks across the US use these boxes to cater to the needs of the Jewish community.

Executive director of Animals Australia, Glenys Oogjes, says kosher meat can be produced without using the full inversion slaughter boxes.

"Here in Australia cattle are slaughtered in the kosher method, and that happens while they're upstanding and are then stunned immediately post the throat cut," she said.

"It's accepted by the Jewish community in Australia and all we are suggesting is animals be treated humanely... it isn't allowed in Australia because of the suffering that's involved and we therefore shouldn't be allowing it to happen overseas either."

Ms Oogjes says Animals Australia has approached the Federal Department of Agriculture to change ESCAS to "get rid" of full inversion slaughter boxes.

The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council says it's currently developing a position paper on the use of inversion boxes.


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