Cattle wait patiently as a cattle sale decides their fate.
Cattle wait patiently as a cattle sale decides their fate. Ren Lanzon

Producer defends live animal exports

QUEENSLAND is a big player in the farming and live export industry, supplying nearly 50% of the nation's beef for domestic consumption and export.

But the industry has again been called into question following footage aired on ABC's Four Corners program showing thousands of Australian sheep being brutally slaughtered in southern Pakistan.

The program on Monday night has sparked renewed calls for the government to ban all live exports.

RSPCA Queensland media and community relations officer Michael Beatty said the Four Corners episode was only one of many incidents in the past 20 years.

"We believe that live export is a senseless trade - from both an animal welfare and economic perspective," he said.

Mr Beatty said no assurance scheme could fully safeguard the welfare of animals exported live for slaughter.

"No matter how much industry or government involvement there is," he said.

"Quite simply, we need to start planning today for a future without it. Not only is this in the best interests of Australian animals but ultimately in the best interests of a sustainable livestock industry in this country."

Gladstone cattle farmer Councillor Leo Neill-Ballantine has defended live exports, saying the Pakistan cull was an isolated incident and not a reflection of the trade as a whole.

"As a result of this incident, industry has put in place a self-imposed ban on the trade of sheep to Bahrain and Pakistan," Cr Neill-Ballantine said.

"The Export Supply Chain Assurance System has been put in place to closely monitor the welfare of animals being live exported and any reporting of breaches shows this system works."

He warned banning live exports would impact on CQ farmers.

"What people don't realise is that Australia leads the world as far as animal welfare goes," he said.

"Any live export of cattle will impact producers in the Gladstone region as far as prices go.

"If they ban live exports there will be more cattle on the market, which pushes down the price."