Voices against live exports
CLOSE to 200 people in both Lismore and Byron Bay joined in a national day of protest against live animal exports on Saturday.
Organisers estimate the national protest attracted around 50,000 people in all capital cities and over 50 regional and rural locations across the country.
Joining the Lismore rally was Cherie Imlah, of Bonalbo, who sets up a table outside Noah's Bookshop in Lismore every second Thursday morning to gather signatures petitioning against the practice of live animal export.
Ms Imlah has been collecting signatures for months now, however when the ABC TV's Four Corners program highlighted the plight of animal cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs on May 30, she found herself inundated with support, saying people were queuing up to sign the petition.
“We've got thousands of signatures so far,” the 78-year-old writer and political activist said.
The Four Corners program, with its graphic images of animals being slaughtered, garnered instant public protest and led to the Federal Government temporarily banning live cattle exports to Indonesia.
“I am an individual who hates cruelty to animals and I've been upset by this issue ever since I first heard about it through Animals Australia,” Ms Imlah said.
Dr Patricia Petersen, organiser of the national event, said the government ban on live exports to Indonesia was intended to politically water down public anger in relation to the industry.
“To suggest that this government is listening is extremely naive,” she said.
“The government has known for decades that our livestock are being tortured to death when they arrive at their overseas destinations and have turned a blind eye to it,” she said.
Also attending the Lismore rally was Angela Pollard, Animal Law and Education project officer at Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre.
“This issue has been of concern since the 1980s,” Ms Pollard said.
“The countries that we send these animals to don't have animal welfare laws as we understand them to be.
“The animals suffer terribly in transport and in the abattoirs.
"It also means Australian abattoirs close down.
“If we kept the animals locally we'd keep jobs here and we would have a standard of animal welfare.”