By now almost Australian’s will know that this country’s so called animal protection groups want live export banned, even going so fas as to try and make it an election issue, with the help of the Australian Greens.
If there is as much public support for live export ending as these groups claim there is, how would Australia go about ending the trade in live animals?
As with most items that are tradeable, there are three ways to stop the trade in those items. Legislate against it; Reduce demand; and Reduce supply.
Legislate Against It
Despite there being an election due in a few weeks time, and the claims of people holding up placards that say “No Ban, No Vote”, it is highly unlikely that there will be a government imposed ban on the live export of animals, because there is just too much for the government to lose. Whether it be the support of the farmers’ lobby group, or the loss of export revenue. Then there is the corresponding or potential loss of employment for those who make an income from the trade.
To reduce demand, these organisations either need to improve conditions in the importing country, whether it be refrigeration for imported chilled meat, or education on was to consume a plant based diet. There is nothing on the Animals Australia website that indicates that they are working with local organisations to improve refrigeration standards. This means that all that is left is educating the local people on the benefits of a plant based diet, though considering that Animals Australia has said that they won’t tell people what to do, it doesn’t look like they will be working to reduce demand any time soon.
This is the most challenging option, though probably the one that has the most benefit to those involved. The tricky and challenging part of this is to get the farmer who makes a living by raising animals to stop doing that, and start something else.
Another thing that needs to be taken into consideration is that some of the farmers involved in live export are 2nd or 3rd generation farmers, and farming is the only life that they know, which means that there may be a need for the farmers to be retrained.
The farming groups will tell you that the land can only be used for animal agriculture and nothing else. Whilst in some parts of the country, this may be true, in others it may not be with a bit of extra work being needs to make it useable.
For example, in Australia hemp seed cannot be sold for human consumption, nor can it be grown without a mountain load of red tape. The commercial uses of this plant are reported to be wide ranging, from paper to clothing to even food.
[GARD]If those farmers involved in live export could be shown that growing hemp or something else could be just as, if not more profitable for them than exporting animals, that would go some way to reducing the supply.
The next time someone from one of these groups talks about banning live export, it might pay to ask them if they really do want to see live export end, or are just using it as a marketing campaign.