30 May 2011
This evening the Four Corners program aired evidence of animal welfare mistreatment in Indonesian facilities.
I was shocked by the footage and the treatment of the animals involved.
I have ordered an immediate investigation into the footage by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and have asked them to provide me with all available options in response to the evidence.
I have tonight directed the Department to implement a moratorium on the installation of any new Mark I restraint boxes, as seen being used in the footage. This will apply to the instalment of any new boxes with Commonwealth funds across global markets.
Further, I have asked the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer to coordinate an independent, scientific assessment of the on-going appropriateness of both the Mark I and Mark IV restraint boxes.
Finally, I have requested a thorough briefing on all of the legislative and regulatory responses available to me for responding to evidence of animal mistreatment, including the banning of trade to specific facilities or destinations.
I asked industry at the beginning of this year for proposals on how welfare outcomes could be improved, particularly after animals arrive in importing countries. I am currently considering these proposals. It is clear that industry reforms to animal welfare standards have not gone far enough or been fast enough and much more needs to be done.