The largest single petition ever lodged with the Rudd Government's Petitions Committee includes the signatures of over 34,000 Australians opposed to live animal exports to the Middle East.
The huge box of petitions arrived this week just as Australian sheep and cattle are being bought to be cruelly handled and slaughtered for the Eid Al Adha 'Festival of Sacrifice' in importing countries in the Middle East.
Previously more than 225,000 signatures have been tabled in the Senate over several years. Today's tally of 34,068 to the new House of Representatives Petitions Committee and 208 to the Senate (tabled by Senator Siewert), brings the cumulative tally to over 259,000 Australians' signatures in opposition to the cruel export of animals to the Middle East
Animals Australia Executive Director Glenys Oogjes said today,
"Animals Australia chose this week to present further petitions because tragically Australian sheep and cattle are currently being yarded in the Middle East to be sold and killed during the Eid al Adha. This three day 'Festival of Sacrifice' represents the peak time for animal suffering in the Middle East.
"Our investigators have during past Eid 'slaughterfests' documented traumatised Australian sheep being dragged by their horns and fleece, tied up, thrown onto trucks or shoved into car boots before being 'sacrificed' by having their throats cut whilst fully conscious. Despite this clear evidence of cruelty, the Australian Government allows the supply of many hundreds of thousands of sheep specifically for this festival each year.
"Despite strong community opposition, the live export of animals to the Middle East continues. Each year some 30,000 to 40,000 sheep sicken and die on the ships during the journey. That Australia continues to value the profits of a small number of live exporters over our international reputation as a caring society is a national disgrace", concluded Ms Oogjes.