Campaigns: Live Animal Exports from Brazil

Live animals exports has been a disturbing topic for many years. The stress on land-based  animals shipped across oceans, to a death too often by cruel means and without any compassion for a stressed gets people very emotional. But it continues, and just doesn’t need to exist as a trade.

Brazil has recently announced plans to increase live cattle exports five-fold, and is meeting with opposition from Animals International to highlight the cruelty of animal exports, from Brazil and Australia alike.

This is a report sourced from ANIMALS INTERNATIONAL and Animals Australia

From one side of the world to the other, this is a CAMPAIGN to unite people to save animals from live export cruelty.

Animals Australia (AA) leads this campaign.  AA has been a long campaigner against live animal exports, for the cruelty and suffering inflicted upon animals both in transit, and in slaughter practices in the recipient countries.

Animals Australia….”the voice for animals”

  • Animals Australia is an Australian animal protection organisation.  Its aim is to investigate and expose animal cruelty.  It is also a peak body representing over 40 animal rights groups around Australia.
  • Founded: 1980
  • Founders: Peter Singer · Christine Townend

Animals Australia was one of the agencies exposing cruel treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesian abattoirs…. behind the (temporary) ban of live cattle exports to Indonesia in the last Labor Government, you may recall.

Animals Australia is not opposed to eating meat per se.

The focus issue is opposition to unnecessary inhumane practices, as has been highlighted in Indonesia and the Middle East in recent years. They lead a campaign to slaughter animals in Australia and export the meat, processed, rather than live exports.

The success of this campaign would see less animal suffering, and more jobs in the exporting country…Brazil or Australia.

In Brazil, the public and politicians have recently been given their very first insight into the terrible fate of animals exported live from Australia.

It is suffering we know all too well. In Egypt and in Lebanon, AA investigators captured on film the fear and terror that has become synonymous with the global live export trade.

At their recent media conference in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Animals International showed the crowd graphic evidence of the routine abuses inflicted on Brazilian cattle overseas — eye-stabbing, tendon slashing, live shackling…

That those present were shocked is no surprise. What the global live export industry carefully keeps hidden is an affront to any compassionate individual’s humanity, whether they were born in South America, Europe or Australia.  This is a campaign for transparency of live animal exports, and a challenge for more humane alternatives to be embraced.

Like any good campaign knows, An informed community is a powerful force for change.  BEAM well knows this reality in the Mitchell region.

 At the end of the media conference, one vet spoke candidly on camera

“No Brazilian knows what happens to animals exported for slaughter. This is an unjustified trade. It makes no sense in 2017” — Dr Ingrid Eder, the first signatory to Brazilian Vets Against Live Export

Animals International has set about briefing veterinary associations across Brazil about the horrific treatment this industry inflicts on animals, and they hope this compassionate vet will be the first of many to join the growing opposition to this trade.

The testimony of vets can be very compelling. Last month AA sent former live export vet and whistle-blower, Dr Lynn Simpson, to Israel to speak directly with politicians and Israeli media. Her presence made the Australian government very nervous and for good reason – her evidence of unavoidable animal suffering at sea is compelling and irrefutable.   On his recent trip to Israel, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was met by caring locals who called on him to end Australia’s cruellest trade. It didn’t get much media here, did it?  Because this issue is uncomfortable for Australia?

AA is now preparing to send Dr Simpson to Brazil to enlighten her South American colleagues as to the cruelty of live exports.

The AA goal is to create powerful professional allies who can counter the influence of live exporters within these countries.

So Brazil is a significant target, predicted to increase live export 5-fold. But there is no real understanding — from farmers or politicians — about what this will mean for animals. AA is determined to show them.  AA have brought together Brazil’s most powerful animal protection groups — Mercy for Animals and Forum Animal — to help do just that.  So, animal justice groups do exist in Brazil, but this Australian-led campaign aims at public education and a joining of community and professional groups to confront a cruel and unnecessary trade.

Animals International have united Brazil’s most powerful animal protection groups to give voice to the victims of live export.  Together, this new alliance seeks to reach millions of people with the truth about live export.

Pressure back here in Australia.  There is another thing that makes South America an important focal point of the campaign. Two of the three major exporters out of Brazil, also operate out of Australia.  So whilst AA investigations have spared Australian animals from the worst abuses associated with this trade, these Brazilian exporters based in Australia adhere to no such rules (legal or ethical) when shipping animals from other countries.  AA claims “They abandon animals from Brazil, and indeed from Europe, to unspeakable horrors, and without consequence”.

These export companies know and fear the name Animals Australia. They know that they are now ‘shining light’ on their trade.  It is the AA intention to disrupt the business model of the global live export industry.  So, bringing public and political scrutiny onto them is the first, critical step.

EarthChat talked about campaigns and the role of EMOTION and HEART on Friday November 10th.  THIS campaign is all of that, a Don Quixote campaign to be sure. The global live export trade subjects millions of animals to extreme suffering every year.  AA sees Each and every one of them as a thinking, feeling individual, whose life matters. For one, for all — they are why we will never give up the fight to end live export.

On campaigns, the fight for justice has always begun with a few courageous, compassionate people who dedicated their lives to challenging the status quo.  When we look back at history, it has never been the majority that stood up and said ‘let’s do things differently’.

The movement against live animal exports is growing.   AA says ”Momentum is with us”, and as Dr Martin Luther King Jr famously said, “the arc of history may be long — but it bends towards justice.”


Meat is:

  • Slaughtered humanely
  • Locally slaughtered & processed for export and
  • businesses thrive.

This does however assume that those countries/businesses importing live animals are able to be convinced to change the way they eat meat….that animals need not be live-slaughtered in their own country.

Barnaby Joyce has shown little interest in this.  Business as usual for BJ is the easier option than encouraging Australia’s meat export industry to explore a different business model. It’s a bit hard to understand in a way – there is more value-adding to the meat business by slaughtering in Australia.

As AI progress the campaign in Brazil, they are also preparing for a major media exposé in Germany, based on investigations into the treatment of German animals sent to Egypt.  This will be Germany’s first glimpse into the reality of live export.

Animals Australia is a healthy Australian export in itself!!

Find out more for yourself

Peter Lockyer, BEAM president. This article is a personal contribution.

I was vegetarian for 13 years, being disturbed by animal cruelty. I now eat meat if free range.


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