Conservatism and Live Animal Exports

sheepI remember listening to a Greens politician attempt on some television documentary to excuse the exemption from strict protection laws of the slaying of the endangered dugong in its Queensland habitat by Aborigines of the local tribes. Even as the natives alighted from their four-wheel-drive vehicles to hunt and spear this noble creature—not a difficult task given its slothful and docile disposition (and that was just as well for the hunting party, given that they pursued it in a tinny) this caricature of a leftist ideologue left us in no doubt that for him the pieties of identity politics trumped the preservation of the life of this poor animal or even the continuation of its species; red always beats green in the far-Left worldview, even if you belong to a party whose raison d’être is said to be protecting the “environment”.

Exempting Aborigines from laws that seek to preserve species at risk of extinction—the killing of creatures such as the dugong was authorised by the Native Title Act 1993—is cruel and unnecessary and shameful. Both legislators and “hunters” deserve our contempt and opprobrium.

I consider myself as having the moral locus standi to say that. You see, I am not a member of either the Liberal or National parties. Members of those parties have no such standing because the associations to which they belong permit and support and encourage live export of our animals—creatures over whom we are given stewardship—under a legislative regime the inauthenticity and ineffectiveness of which makes it difficult to credit the idea of Australia once having been a Christian Commonwealth.

Conservatives, or more particularly purported conservatives in Liberal-National ranks, hardly ever speak publicly about the live export business. If they do, it is only in connection with their ritual condemnation of the Labor minister Joe Ludwig’s brief suspension of the trade in 2011 as exemplifying the Gillard–Greens government’s anti-business ethos. It was nothing of that sort at all. It was in my estimate the only righteous thing that appalling government ever did.

If only Australian conservatism was more Burke and less Rand in orientation (or, if it were, in coherence and depth, more Roger Scruton than P.J. O’Rourke), they would understand that. Then they might begin to reclaim the whole question of our humane treatment of animals as a political imperative from the Left (and the Greens in particular) to whom they long ago abandoned it. And that may have potentially profound implications for the perception of them and their parties among younger voters as having some kind of bona fides when they speak of matters pertaining to our “use and preservation of the kindly fruits of the earth” (as the Book of Common Prayer matchlessly describes our stewardship of creation).

It is a short step from having an honest and humane policy about animal cruelty practised on an industrial scale to having a position on the “environment” that is rooted in real respect for the natural world, and that would give the coalition parties a better chance of being taken seriously by the young than the strategy they are presently following which is tethering themselves to the arse-end of the global warming bus (where the really harmful human emissions are) that is being driven by the ethical poseurs of the Left in the media and in the Opposition parties.

Tony Abbott, specifically, disappointed during his years as Opposition leader and Prime Minister on this live export issue, as he did on others where his manifest general moral earnestness was not matched with an ability to resist the temptations of facile politicking (which he often executed clumsily in any event). It sounded as if he regarded the manumission of the live animal trade as ejusdem generis with stopping boats and cutting waste and carbon taxes. The latter were all morally sound policies; it was embarrassingly unreflective of him to link them with support for a trade of whose cruelties he could not have been unaware.

I will return to my own understanding of the responsibilities that we, as the legatees of the Christian inheritance of honour, owe to our animals, and especially our livestock, in a moment. First, I want to say some things about the legislative regime which nourishes the live export trade. It is necessary for me to speak plainly when I do so.

The Commonwealth legislative system which came into effect in 2012 ostensibly to control the live export of our animals operates as a sham, and the Department which has administered and continues to administer the system knows and has long known that it operates as a sham. That is the conclusion I have drawn from my detailed acquaintance with the chronic failures of invigilation and enforcement of the scheme by the Department of Agriculture and the depravities of the trade itself ever since it was permitted.

The system and its centrepiece, ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme), was introduced after Lyn White of Animals Australia provided footage of the fate of our animals in Indonesian abattoirs to the ABC’s Four Corners and they broadcast it. ESCAS was intended to ensure compliance with OIE (the French acronym for the World Organisation for Animal Health) standards for treatment of animals from despatch to slaughter.

The two Acts that are intended to regulate the export of living creatures on their way to be slaughtered overseas in a way that ensures these international standards are met (and in which ESCAS was said to be embedded) are the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act 1997 (AMLI) and the Export Control Act 1982; the one provides the conditions for the grant of a licence to export animals, and the other the terms upon which a licence holder can obtain an export permit. The purported purpose of an ESCAS can be best understood as a kind of precise plotting of the course and conditions of the journey of an animal from disembarkation to the point of slaughter to ensure that OIE standards are complied with. The Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL), made under both Acts, are intended to prescribe the way in which the animal is handled during the initial conveyance to port, during loading and then during voyage. An ESCAS must be approved to enable an exporter to obtain a permit. As initially designed, the ESCAS system said there needed to be a fresh ESCAS approval for each permit sought; now, the approved ESCAS can authorise multiple permits. The system provides that a breach of the ESCAS during any particular use of a permit constitutes a breach of the AMLI Act and enables the regulator to demand of the exporter that he show cause why the licence should not be revoked.

I used the word ensure in the preceding paragraphs deliberately when describing the proclaimed intention of the scheme; the Secretary of the Department may only approve an ESCAS under wording of the relevant order if he is satisfied that it will “ensure” compliance with those standards. But these Acts of Parliament and the legislative instruments and orders they spawned have utterly failed to do that. Instead they have facilitated repeated barbarity.

In fact, the seven years of operation of the Act can in my opinion be fairly summarised thus: a venal and hypocritical industry, aided by a bureaucracy that is alternately pedantic (when finding an excuse not to enforce the scheme by revoking or meaningfully conditioning the licences of exporters when an ESCAS has been breached) or liberal (when granting permits or approving ESCAS application to licensed exporters who are repeat offenders), allows our animals to be mercilessly subjected to barbaric and unconscionable treatment; these two entities—industry and government—then co-operate in ignoring and suppressing the compelling evidence of such treatment when evidence has been procured—often at great risk—not by the regulator whose job it is but by brave volunteers, whose work and motives they both, in shameful and perfidious chorus, seek to impugn.

If we need have an emblem for this dark reification of an industry and a regulator in symbiosis, then let it be Barnaby Joyce, the minister in charge of this mock-regulatory system from September 2015 to December 2017 (excluding the period when his status as a member of parliament was in the hands of the High Court). What qualities of scepticism or caution do you think he brought to bear upon his consideration of this industry? How might those qualities have impacted upon the willingness of the Department to meaningfully regulate the ESCAS scheme during his tenure? Keep those questions in mind when you consider all I am about to write.

In any event, in my opinion, the system had been revealed to be an imposture well before Barnaby Joyce arrived at the helm of the Department. It remains an imposture to this day. By imposture, I mean a regulatory system that through absence of any kind of proper scheme of invigilation would never fulfil its ostensible purpose.

From the beginning of ESCAS, the breaches of the regulatory “chain” were serial and sickening. Let me instance just a few of the regular depravities that ensued:

1. Cattle declared by the exporter as bound for Israel (whose butchering facilities were of OIE standard) ended up in Gaza where they were brutally stabbed to death by amateur slaughterers.

2. Countless thousands of sheep perished in heat and airlessness in Kuwait (as much an ASEL responsibility as when in transit).

3. Other sheep, according to the ESCAS system headed for authorised slaughter in an approved abattoir, are instead bundled into the boots of thousands of Arabs’ vehicles in the carpark, the tendons of their legs slashed to prevent their escape as they try to run away; most suffocate in the boots, others are tormented to death by children before the lid is closed upon them. The lucky “leakages” from the ESCAS “system” on these occasions are done to death in makeshift carpark abattoirs minutes after disembarkation.

4. The “vet”—note the singular—on board these vessels (this is prescribed by ASEL) during their long, stifling voyages are so few in number and their work is so lightly invigilated by the Department as to render their very presence on almost all voyages redundant .

5. Cattle sent to Vietnam are bludgeoned to death by sledgehammers upon arrival at “authorised” abattoirs.

These atrocities have been captured on video and in photographs and in carefully recorded accounts of the observation of eyewitnesses. We who have seen these films and pictures might describe the images as more haunting and brutal than a Bosch vision of hell were it not disrespectful to the memory of the sentient creatures who endured the actual physical agony of this treatment to speak of such suffering in metaphor.

That Australian farmers and exporters and public servants have facilitated this cruelty on such a scale and with such frequency is a cause of eternal shame. Yet the absence of conscience among those who participate in it, and the absence of any modicum of integrity in the regulatory process that allows it to occur, go even deeper than that. You see, this is how the trade was always going to operate.

When the ESCAS system was structured, no provision at all was made for ascertaining compliance by exporters, except their self-reporting. What does that say about its bona fides from the beginning? No arm’s-length inspectors on the ships during voyage, none at port of arrival, none at the abattoirs. In the absence of provision for the most rudimentary policing, the system was a fraud upon the Australian citizenry from the beginning. What do all the ear-tags and paint marks prescribed by the regulator (said to guarantee identification of origin and confirm the itinerary of the beast) matter if no one is there to monitor their movement and their destiny? The “system” was no system at all; it was—it is—a sham.

I said just now that no one was there to monitor compliance. I meant no one who was part of this mock system was present, no one on the public service payroll. This administrative farce was still monitored, however, in a way that would plague the Department and its Ministers. It was monitored covertly by brave volunteers from Australia and from the countries to whom the animals were sent. These are people who ought to be honoured by Australians when they finally insist on looking at this trade—and their farmers’ and politicians’ responsibility for it—in the eye.

The organisation Animals Australia in particular became the unofficial invigilators of this whole process. The detailed reports they provided to the Department of the egregious breaches of the system were studiously authenticated and corroborated. However, even then, the Department’s consideration of their reports—bear in mind they were doing the job the Department of Agriculture never did and never intended to do—were almost always delayed for months. In that time, of course, the exporters who had been caught in flagrante delicto were able to continue their barbarous voyages, fresh export permits having been approved or, latterly and following changes to the regulations, the original ESCAS approval being allowed to generate fresh permits.

When their reports were finally considered—and given the direct evidence of contravention of the terms of the approved ESCAS and of the permit and the licence to export itself, findings of guilt were inevitable—the sanctions imposed were token and almost always involved merely the imposition of further requirements to ensure adherence to standards, compliance with which—you know the story by now—was never invigilated by the Department. And in turn Animals Australia and its colleagues would take up that job and would furnish proof of wanton non-compliance with those additional measures, and the Department would delay release of their report on those breaches, and … enough. I trust you have the picture by now. It sickens me as a former judge of a federal court to have to continue to catalogue this mockery of a genuine regulatory regime.

And what about Chief Inspector Barnaby? What was his contribution to holding to account his Department for their abandonment of responsibility to enforce the measures announced to ensure the elimination of cruelty in this billion-dollar trade, during his tenure? He refused persistent requests even to meet with Lyn White of Animals Australia to discuss her organisation’s reports, even as Animals Australia, in exercise of a de facto delegation arising from the absence of any kind of meaningful invigilation by the regulators, attempted to carry out the responsibilities of his own Potemkin department.

An expectation that there exist laws about dealing humanely with livestock animals, especially the mode of slaughter, and that such laws will be properly invigilated, was a part of that complex of assumptions and perceptions about my country I received unconsciously as I grew up here. A regular hike in the foothills of Noarlunga with my primary school mates in the 1960s often took us past a long-established slaughterhouse. The trucks would rumble up and down Main South Road with their too-tightly-packed cargo of cattle or pigs during the week. Some of us schoolchildren (usually girls) were more curious about what happened to the animals upon arrival than others; teachers and parents padded away questions the answers to which might distress young minds, though some of them were probably as wilfully ignorant of the details as we were natively unaware. Many in my class were farmers’ children and they knew well, of course, about the bloody fate of those consignees.

But as with most things in the social world I was becoming acquainted with, I apprehended somehow that the ultimate handling of these animals would not simply have been an event in an anomic process; if the ending was ineluctably brutal it would nevertheless have been tempered with the observance of some modicum of restraint and avoidance of unnecessary suffering, because like the behaviour of men and women in other spheres of my culture it would have been mediated by a desire—strong or faint, striving or merely reactive, depending on the individual participant in the process—to behave honourably. I didn’t know what honour meant as a child; I have a better idea now. (I would come to understand it as the provenience of a conservative political philosophy.) I see that it informed every aspect of our mores and our laws and that, however unuttered the word itself may have been, we lived in a social world where it mattered to each of us. It has been emptied out of all parts of our society, of course, by decades of irreligious and totalitarian progressivism, but it animated every personal conscience and conditioned every public observance in the days when I was growing up.

Farmers were expected to deal honourably with their flocks and herds and sounders, for example. It was around the time when they became “producers” instead of farmers that our expectations changed; they were part of an “industry” now and not members of a vocation, one unique in its affiliation with the very soil of the land we inhabit.

Our agricultural practices, as with our laws, are soaked through with the Christian origins of our polity. The idea that we are the stewards of the animals that we rear and use and eat is a Christian teaching, unalloyed with any classical or secular or pagan doctrine, with its roots in Genesis and extending throughout both Testaments (the “shepherd” trope of so many beautiful passages in the gospels instructing us in the same duty as the explicit stewardship teachings of the epistles), then through the early Church Fathers, to the Franciscans and to the Anglican curates and other Revivalists of Regency and early Victorian times who founded the RSPCA. Stewardship means responsibility and entails conscientiousness in our control of animals. The power we have over animals is a zoological phenomenon; our sense of obligation towards them is a psychological one; it is strong in cultures like our own, faint or non-existent in others, and that varied incidence, I suppose, constitutes a third, and historical, phenomenon.

There is a mystery about the assumption of this burden (and blessing) of stewardship, as there is with many other traditions we hold fast and beliefs we will not abandon, but that is no matter. We can say with Job as he answered Jophar:

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

With what sadness and with what depths of bitterness and disappointment would those beasts and fishes, our subordinates in creation, possessed of that knowledge of which those verses speak, address us, if they had the capacity, about the wholly unnecessary suffering we are allowing to be inflicted upon our cattle and sheep and other livestock?

I suppose there may have been individual primary producers who have lobbied their federations and their councils to stop the trade in living animals but if they exist they have been very ineffective; the numbers cannot have been high, because they have never made themselves heard. No, when the post-Barnaby Minister, Mr Littleproud, responds to the Sixty Minutes reporter about the latest atrocities aboard an Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd ship (this corporate exporter dominates the livestock trade in Australia) and vows to respond to it because of the damage that is being done to the “reputation” of Australian farmers, he profoundly misapprehends the reality that such a reputation has already suffered a fatal declension. Primary producers who make their money by supplying vital, respirating, apperceptive creatures to exporters for despatch to countries whose standards of treatment of animals, and especially those pertaining to their slaughter, they know to be barbarous already are, in the judgment of the vast majority of their fellow citizens, degenerate. Degenerate is a word that comes from the Latin and means, plainly, someone who is inferior to his ancestors. That is what our livestock farmers are because of their participation in this trade and it is time that we told them so.

Muslim countries, of course, are voracious recipients of our live animals. Their religion insists upon the animal being alive when it has its throat cut. Stunning of an animal before killing, the sine qua non of modern humane slaughter, is considered haram; it is only the subjecting of the animal to a maximised awareness of what is coming to it and of what has already come to its companions in front of its frightened, bewildered eyes, and then the maximising of its experience of the pain involved in bleeding and choking to death, that is, apparently, halal.

In pioneer and early-modern times in Australia we did not have the facilities for stunning or the infrastructure to set the rules for slaughter and enforce them. But today, knowing that we must not be cruel, and having willingly adopted the internationally recognised methods to kill humanely the animals we intend to eat, and set up laws to make sure they are followed in our own nation, we then permit our livestock to be sent to countries where we know they will be savagely and pitilessly slaughtered, not because those countries lack the capacity to conduct themselves humanely but because, in furtherance of the tenets of an early medieval cult, they choose not to do so. And I am referring here only to those animals that remain within the so-called chain; the Animals Australia reports show the even greater suffering experienced by those animals that “leak” from the “chain” and end up in car boots in 110-degree days in Muslim principalities on the other side of the earth.

That is shameful enough, but when we know that the concomitant of this surrender of our obligations of honour to these creatures and of our responsibility to protect them from needless painful death, is the sending of them on a long and hellish journey during which many of them will perish from heat and thirst and disease—when we know that this, too, will be entailed by our farmers’ venality, should we not ask what destination we have reached ourselves? I say that we have arrived at a state of moral disfigurement; farmers are disgraced by their participation in this trade and the rest of us are disgraced by permitting their participation.

My unsolicited advice to Mr Littleproud and his coalition colleagues is this. Ignore the bleatings of an industry and its spruikers within the government, in thrall to the profits to be reaped from a trade with alien peoples whose treatment of animals we rightly regard as debased. Attend instead to the bleatings (and cries, and gurglings and soul-piercing howls) of the creatures they consign to charnel-house voyages and chthonian death. Then, until such time as this trade is abolished, ensure, by fearless and righteous leadership of your Department, that the public servants within it do their duty and monitor and enforce and comply themselves with the laws that were passed by Parliament for the explicit purpose of eliminating barbarity. Most importantly, examine your heritage as an Australian and think upon how it might truly be embodied in your party’s policies in the future.

These would be the acts of a conservative minister. They would assist this government in acquiring the same honourable credential.

Stuart Lindsay is a former Federal Circuit Court Judge. He contributed “The Family Court Has Failed Gender-Dysphoric Children” in the May issue.


35 thoughts on “Conservatism and Live Animal Exports

  • Lewis P Buckingham says:

    Australians look back with pride to the shipment of her horses in the First World War to the Middle East.
    They were heavily provisioned with hay water and comfortable beds, while their riders slept in the same accomodation.
    For the Melbourne Cup large roomy airconditioned, pressurised aircraft bring them from the Gulf States, a tribute to animal husbandry and care for these creatures.
    We are regailed with modern technology, and wonder at the Mighty Ships.

    Yet the outcome of our trade has been deceitful, profitable for many and shamefully covered up.
    Once in International waters, the burley of faeces, urine and dead sheep travels from Adelaide to the Gulf, iron richness of
    blood and faeces attracing sharks into close waters where surf boarders and swimmers are increasingly attacked.
    Some of the great whites can cross to the ends of the Indian Ocean, along the Mighty Ship tracks.
    Every time someone is savaged by one we are told that they must be protected.
    Yet where are the enormous resources available to the NGO’s like the RSPCA, or the mighty powers of the Federal Police
    being utilised here to protect hundreds and thousands of Australian sheep?

    This ship was designed to cool by air blowers, great in the Northern Hemisphere, hopeless in the tropics.
    65000 sheep produce heat from fermentation as well as metabolism.
    Toxic gasses such as ammonia are produced from urine while CO2 and methane need dispersing.
    The big killer is the water vapour that carries the heat, particularly when standing in hot urine and faeces,being hosed down, floating
    on a salt sea,in tropical heat and humidity.
    Unless the ship builder’s want to budget on building a power system such as on a Gerald R Ford Class aircraft carrier, air conditioning, with scrubbing, won’t happen.
    Yet that is what is needed to keep the sheep safe.
    Small shipments won’t pay the bills.

    What is left is to give the industry a decent way out.
    We need a roadmap for industry reconstruction.
    The timeline has to be achievable,verifiable and within two federal political periods.
    If this cannot be guaranteed, then those of sense and goodwill of our elected
    must mandate a Royal Commission into this fiasco.
    Its Time.

  • lloveday says:

    I’m not going to debate the live sheep trade, but I will ask why are sheep seemingly more important than other animals?

    Rats are more intelligent animals than sheep (and dogs and…) yet you can buy poison at a hardware store that causes internal bleeding resulting in the animal suffering excruciating pain for days before death mercifully brings the agony to an end, yet don’t provide sufficient care for sheep, or thrash a dog and you are quickly in front of a beak and sometimes jailed (in SA even eating dog meat is a crime, regardless of how the dog has died). Dog attacks are responsible for 2,500 hospital admissions per year, rats…?

  • Jody says:

    I would like the live export trade to continue – just as long as this includes the human variety. For your edification and amusement I submit some of those would would qualify:

    Staff of “The Guardian”, most of the ABC, Waleed Aly, Mike Carlton, Van Badham, Clementine Ford, Peter Fitzsimons, Yasmin A-M and everyone in the Greens.

    Now THAT would be a useful live export trade.

  • exuberan says:

    There is no mention of doing away with Live Export in favour of Chilled export. Process the Sheep in Australian Abattoirs. This a far better solution with no loss of valuable trade.

  • exuberan says:

    Further to my earlier post, I would propose the following:

    That the Sheep be processed on board the ship for the Halal kill in an onboard Floating Abattoir

    Possible benefits are

    1. The resultant chilled product is progressively fresh as the ship nears the Middle East delivery point. This is the end user main gripe

    2. The Kill could be done under monitored Australian DPI controls

    3. The severe overcrowding of the Sheep diminishes as the voyage progresses.
    The sheep carcasses are stowed in onboard chillers

    4. A Kill floor for sheep is a relatively small area that could easily be accommodated on a ship
    It involves a chain with the sheep carcasses passing thru the various process stages

    5. Andrew Forest has an Abattoir at Harvey (WA) and might be interested in putting up the money to develop the ship, His FMG group has experience with Shipbuilding. Refit of an existing vessel the cheapest option. There are DPI architects who could advise on the refit of a ship as a floating Abattoir.

    6. From the Kill comes by-products, these are rendered (cooked) and processed/bagged into a saleable product, this also could be done on the ship

    7. The fussiest end users could have their meat chilled for only 2-3 days. It could even be killed/processed while they wait at the destination port.

    8. All processing to be done by members of the relevant Australian worker union

  • whitelaughter says:

    The absurd incompetence of the ban on live export was that all slaughterhouses were punished for the actions of some (okay, many). So why defend it?

    Banning it – sure, go for it. And while you’re at it, ban halal certification to boot. Food prepared by Christians and Jews is automatically halal according to the Islamic scriptures, so simply sue any end seller who labels the meat as Haram.

  • en passant says:

    Your education, use of uncommon words (‘manumission’, ‘declension’,’reification’, ‘anomic’) and position as a member of the ivory tower elite blind you to reality.

    1. There is no way, NO WAY that halal killing can ever be made ‘animal friendly’. This is an absolute. “.. it is only the subjecting of the animal to a maximised awareness of what is coming to it and of what has already come to its companions in front of its frightened, bewildered eyes, and then the maximising of its experience of the pain involved in bleeding and choking to death, that is, apparently, halal.”

    So, if you believe your own narrative you must advocate for that form of slaughter to be banned in Australia. Outlawed. Let’s see how that goes down.
    In an act of mischief several years ago I documented the halal practice in Oz and sent it to the RSPCA. They declined to become involved as it was ‘a religious question, outside of their responsibilities’. Let that sink in: animal cruelty was not their concern, but a matter for a god. You MUST address (and answer) how halal is to be dealt with or your article is just an esoteric, feel-good crock.

    2. “… their ritual condemnation of the Labor minister Joe Ludwig’s brief suspension of the trade in 2011 as exemplifying the Gillard–Greens government’s anti-business ethos. It was nothing of that sort at all. It was in my estimate the only righteous thing that appalling government ever did.” Ah, the precautionary principle of collective punishment of all, the good the bad and the ugly – just to be sure. Sounds like you follow the teachings of St Cecil when asked what to do with prisoners, to which he replied “Kill them all, god will know his own”. And he was made a Saint?

    3. As someone who made most of their well-remunerated living on the taxpayer funded public purse, your throwaway comment that the government should “Ignore the bleatings of an industry and its spruikers within the government, in thrall to the profits to be reaped from a trade with alien peoples whose treatment of animals we rightly regard as debased.” I can see an opportunity for you to invest in an exceptionally ‘profitable’ business in ethical animal husbandry. I know two cattle station owners who would just welcome your investment money. One is in SA so you will be able to see before you buy. Don’t hold back. Put in everything you have: it’s the honourable thing to do so you can show them how it is done. Otherwise you are just pontificating hot air.

    4. The effect of the sudden termination of meat to Indonesia had a disastrous effect on the Indonesians, for which they will never forgive us. This is why they have still limited imports from Oz in favour of Argentina. So, as usual, our sacrifice has only hurt ourselves.

    Finally, you may get part of your wish as the Chinese are threatening to cut all beef and agricultural produce imports from Oz (and cancel our iron ore contracts), in retaliation for our weak support the USA (and the nine nations) policy on their hegemony over the South China Sea. How will your pension be paid if we have no revenue from these export industries? Perhaps that is another sacrifice you are willing to make?

    Cause and the unintended consequences of the high moral stand. Fortunately, we have enough kow-towing politicians willing to negotiate the sale of Oz to them

    • Jody says:

      “Manumission” means being freed from slavery and the other words are easily available in a dictionary. This is not the sole prerogative of the educated elite but also those who have read widely and prefer to challenge themselves and others with less commonly used, cliched words. I write down all new words I encounter and try to use these as often as possible – something I actively encouraged in my Years 7 and 8 at high school through my “Words for the Week” program (something nobody else was doing). It was a spelling test of 10 challenging words, at least one of which had to be used by them in a sentence that week.

      • en passant says:

        As my education predated the current era of propaganda teaching I actually have a very good vocabulary. However, thank you for missing the central point and sniping at a trivial issue. Is it not distracting to the thread of an article if you require a dictionary on hand? I knew what manumission meant, but I doubt I have ever used it – and it has been decades since I last read it.

        Isn’t Plain English the essence of good writing if one wants to make a point?

    • Bushranger71 says:

      ‘…in retaliation for our weak support (for) the USA…’

      EP; you may be overlooking that the US, supported by Australia and Japan, vigorously opposed the formation of a South East Asian regional economic forum. That ultimately led to the strengthening of ASEAN and its broadening to the ASEAN Plus Three bloc.

      ASEAN tentacles have now spread broadly across Australia’s northern neighborhood and we are conspicuously more or less ‘persona non grata’ due to our virtual blind allegiance as a de facto 51st US State. America continually beating war drums regarding the South China Sea is only going to have further adverse consequences for Australia.

      It is laughable to consider Australia a middle-ranking military power. A massive overspend on defence is needlessly equipping the ADF with a whole raft of questionable suitability gear that it cannot possibly adequately man for sustainable operations. So-called Australian Defence Industry is really just a shopfront for the world major arms manufacturers who are siphoning billions out of the country – in reality, we are a ‘sucker’ ally!

      The British Empire outlived its welcome in our part of the world, which is now so for the American Empire. Yet, our inept politicians have been too dumb to heed the warnings of eminent professionals such as Lee Kuan Yew and Richard Woolcott.
      We have left it far too long to pull our heads in and relate appropriately to our regional neighbors.

      China has Australia by the scrotum and will deservedly tighten economic pressures, as US worldwide influence begins to weaken.

      Anglo/American hegemonic domination of Australia will likely dilute substantially over the next 2 decades.

      • en passant says:

        Bushranger 71,
        “America continually beating war drums regarding the South China Sea is only going to have further adverse consequences for Australia.”
        War drums? Oh, really? So, how do you rate the seven heavily fortified islands the Chinese have built and the Chinese demand that everyone flying over or sailing through the SCS ask for their permission first? Their ‘Nine Dot’ line that they claim is Chinese territory runs thousands of km from their nearest coast. Is that reasonable or just aggressive empire building on their part? In a recent speech a senior Vietnamese Minister pointed out the threat of the economic invasion of Vietnam and remarked “14 of the last 17 wars we have fought to retain our independence were fought against the Chinese. So now they are buying us.” Sounds like the Oz economic master plan.

        We are no longer a ‘middle-ranking military power’. Our ADF is a mishmash of expensive, but mainly inferior toys that will hasten our demise should another powerful empire wish to invade us. As I said in a comment a year ago: “The French submarines will never be built. You heard it here first.” Defence is squandering vast resources for little capability in return. The senior military is bad enough, but the quality of politicians in the Defence & Defence Support portfolios has been abysmal – a dumping ground for the faithful worshippers of Our Great Leaders.

        I love your conclusion: preemptive surrender to the inevitable!

        “We have left it far too long to pull our heads in and relate appropriately [DOES THAT INVOLVE A BOW OF THE HEAD, TAKING A KNEE, OR JUST TOUCHING THE FORELOCK?] to our regional neighbors.


        Anglo/American hegemonic domination of Australia will likely dilute substantially over the next 2 decades. [OH, GOOD? AND BE REPLACED BY A LESS BENEVOLENT CHINESE HEGEMONY FOR A THOUSAND YEARS? SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE BEEN READING FROM THE SLIPPERY SAM & CARR PLAYBOOK]

        • Bushranger71 says:

          Wow EP; a bit loud perhaps! Although a bit off track, some crystallization of our national integrity.

          Chinese roots were established here soon after European settlement and they have been major investors in the Sydney CBD as the city has grown.

          In 2016, fee-paying overseas students contributed $6.2bn to university revenue nationally. University revenue from fees paid by overseas students increased by 23% across NSW in 2017. The overseas cohort now brings in $2.8bn for universities in NSW – China provided 54% last year, followed by India and Nepal. A quite high percentage of the student population eventually somehow results in family property acquisition.

          Some 10,000 millionaires moved to Australia in 2017 since the Australian Government created a special visa category to attract immigrants with money. Many of these would be retirees of course seeking to advantage medical and other benefits.

          The imposition of softish foreign buyer taxes has not halted Chinese buyer demand for apartments in particular.

          Apart from a pretty high percentage of retired Brits who are arguably just parasitic, Federal Government policies have cast the die over some decades now for the Asianization of Australia.

          There are now some 300 languages spoken in Australia. A friend said to me last week: ‘You can bet there will be way less than 50 percent of people in this land barracking for Australia at the World Cup in Russia.’

          The reality is China is the emergent main player in the South East Asian region; which of course will irritate Vietnam considering their conflicts over time. But the West and US in particular usually fail to appreciate cultural considerations (as in Iraq) and the Asians quietly resolve issues in their own mysterious ways. They are all very mutually dependent upon trading networks in the South China Sea region, which China would not compromise.

          Militarily speaking; invasion of Australia was never contemplated or practicable and is a non-feasible military concept. Nations are more likely to be neutered by cyber or economic paralysis, the latter being where successive Australian Governments have allowed us to become more vulnerable; for example, we now import all refined fuel from Singapore.

          • Bushranger71 says:

            For ‘contemplated’ substitute ‘intended’.

          • en passant says:

            The CAPITALS were not intended to be SHOUTING, but simply to make it obvious what was your quote and my reply. If I knew ho to use Italics and Bold in QoL I would have preferred that option.

            “Some 10,000 millionaires moved to Australia in 2017 since the Australian Government created a special visa category to attract immigrants with money.” Actually, you are ALMOST correct. There has been a huge scam running in my suburb for 20 years involving these millionaires. When I moved in 36 years ago the census said that 8% of residents were Chinese. It is now 18% – and growing ever faster. I was curious to note how many businesses were bought, rejigged and operated by new Chinese immigrants who (in those days) had put in $500K. The family would run the business, but father would go back to HK or China to their real business. The business would run at a profit or loss (it did not matter to them), but 18-months later they would be granted Oz residency. The ‘front’ business would then be sold to the next in line and the process repeated. I reported this scam (and two ‘fake’ marriages) to Immigration, but nothing happened. I have a friend in the AFP, so I tried them, but they said neither case was a crime, so I guess the system was operating as planned.

            “Many of these would be retirees of course seeking to advantage medical and other benefits.” As I used to travel overseas for 26-40 weeks of the year my wife boarded foreign students through the ‘Homestay’ programme for company and safety. With one exception, EVERY one of them is now living in Oz with either residency or citizenship. In two cases, a Chinese and a Japanese the parents are now reunited with the children through the ‘Family Reunion’ scheme and are now resident in Oz. I believe they had to pay a $40K fee for lifetime Medicare, but I am sure someone can validate (or invalidate) this assertion.

            I retain a Condo in Oz and am the only non-Chinese on the Owner’s Committee. I have no problem with this, but would point out that it is a fact that 80% of ownership is Chinese and 85% of residents are also Chinese.

            “But the West and US in particular usually fail to appreciate cultural considerations (as in Iraq) and the Asians quietly resolve issues in their own mysterious ways. They are all very mutually dependent upon trading networks in the South China Sea region, which China would not compromise.”

            I moved to Asia 3-years ago so I would dispute your ‘mysterious’ Asian ways comment. It does not take long to understand that they are just experts at gaming the system – see “How to gain Oz residency” comment above.
            As for the second part: China wants hegemony over South Asia, revenge against Japan and the humiliation of Britain (unbelievably for the 1840’s Opium Wars and the sacking of Peking in 1900 (an event in which Australia participated). The ultimate aim via the One Belt: One Road system and their domination of manufacturing is to world hegemony. It is their destiny, so best to collaborate, take the money (ask several of our politicians) and accept the inevitable. Vietnam will not. They fought the longest war in history (893 years) to rid themselves of their Chinese overlords – and will do so again.

        • lloveday says:

          ” If I knew ho to use Italics and Bold in QoL I would have preferred that option.”

          Go to Catalaxy Files Catalaxy

          Scroll down to Pages

          Click on Some basic HTML

          and you will see how to not only use Italics and Bold, but also embed a link.

          Or just click here

        • lloveday says:

          ” If I knew ho to use Italics and Bold in QoL I would have preferred that option.”

          Go to Catalaxy Files

          Scroll down to Pages on the right

          Click on Some basic HTML

          and you will see how to not only use Italics and Bold, but also embed a link.

    • Mohsen says:

      en passant, what is it that you are sardonically protesting here?

      The writer isn’t blind to reality (bad diagnosis by you, indeed!). The article is actually about the reality, with the writer expressing his sentimental antipathy to it. (literal meaning of sentimental I mean here!). And his wish that that reality be changed to another reality based on moral, ethical, and religious grounds he voices, with the cost of change being implied and deemed acceptable, the whole article an explanation why!

      He MUST address (and answer) how halal is to be dealt with or your article is just an esoteric, feel-good crock? Not really! The article is a specific commentary on an specific issue recently being debated in Australia.

      You advise he invest in ethical animal husbandry? What’s your point here? What are you talking about? What do you mean? What do you mean by “Otherwise you are just pontificating hot air”? I doubt you would know how and whether he in actuality is involved in those actions you hint that he be involved in!

      How could it possible to deride someone who expresses concerns about pain and suffering of some living beings? I don’t understand!

      It would be prudent not to label others’ comments as throwaway, etc. especially if one himself makes comments–lots of them often!

      Your faulting him for using uncommon words? Why?

      What “high moral stand”? The piece is about concern for pain and suffering of animals, the creatures that are in our care, suffering while being in our care, them completely being voiceless, hopeless, and faultless. What are you talking about?

      • en passant says:

        I can summarise my point as follows:

        1. Halal murder is a cruel form of killing, which the author recognises, yet we permit it in Australia. Ask the RSPCA why they do not seek to end it here. I did and received a surprising answer
        2. Thousands of Australians rely on the live-animal export trade with muslim countries to survive. Without that trade the outback would emptied and the taxes currently accruing to our bankrupt government would be lost.
        3. If you are advocating the economic destruction of other people ‘out there beyond the black stump’, then shouldn’t you have skin in the game, or an alternative plan for their welfare too?
        4. Just sell Oz to the Chinese and put the country out of its misery. As China is stockpiling Iron Ore the future is clear: they will pull the plug one day, the Oz economy will collapse (Weimar Republic level and far beyond the effects of the great depression) and they will buy the mines for a song. Conquest and hegemony without firing a shot.

        Of course, we will be vulnerable to takeover, but Bob Carr has the answer …

  • Bushranger71 says:

    In the early 1960s, I landed an Air Force Dakota at Carlton station in the Kimberleys of Western Australia, located in a ruggedly beautiful setting akin to something out of an Albert Namatjira painting. Absolute silence and a handful of dust just fell vertically to the ground.

    The large homestead, other accommodations and adjacent abattoir and large cold storage complex were all in operative condition with nobody present, not even a caretaker, and only occupied seasonally. This facility then produced chilled beef that was then flown to South East Asia by Bristol Freighter aircraft.

    Sometime during the past couple of years, this complex was reputedly purchased by Asian interests.

    If we were exporting chilled meat 50 plus years back, why not do it now when air-freighting has become much larger scale and more competitive?

    When living in Kuwait, we used to buy prime Irish beef imported directly, so why are we pandering to Arab barbarity with live sheep exports?

    • Lewis P Buckingham says:

      Good point.
      The House of Saud air freight in racehorses, why not chilled meat to them.
      But the sticking point is, how can ritually slaughtered sheep be killed humanely.
      Islam does not have the equivalent of a magisterium, conclaves of Bishops,evolution of doctrine or a Pope, but it does have
      opinions of Scholars.
      Wondering how it were ever possible for George Bush and the Coalition of the Willing to go into Iraq without
      the mainly Muslim Middle Eastern residents of the US rising up in arms, I discovered an interesting thing.
      The then US Administration approached a group of Scholars and obtained an opinion that it was licit to go into Iraq.
      That meant even those in the armed services of Muslim Faith were free to fight.
      Approaching Scholars may be a possible approach.
      Alternatively the farmers could meet the market in Australia and overseas by selling chilled sheep meat to
      India, China,South America, Japan.
      Why, with free trade, we could even sell to NZ.
      As an aside on the geopolitics.
      India and China have recently had top level talks.
      India does not want a two front war against Bangladesh and China, but is being squeezed in the Indian Ocean
      with the expansion of the Chinese navy.
      India and the Phillipines just had talks on ‘aid’.
      If China tries anything on the border with India, India could support ‘freedom of navigation’ in the South China Sea.
      India has joined the intelligence sharing with the US,tapping into ‘Five Eyes’.
      India is concerned at the new Chinese naval bases in Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
      Don’t forget that India has the only ‘peaceful’ nuclear bomb in the world.
      The UK, after Brexit, is supporting Australia in the South Seas and opening trade again.
      Australia still supports its air base in Malaysia.
      Now that the Russian Federation’depressed economy has a GDP approaching that of Italy, the Russian Bear would seem of less consequence.
      After our time of life we in Australia may even be sending up our own satellites, something India achieved in two generations.

      • lloveday says:

        “.. the Russian Federation’ depressed economy has a GDP approaching that of Italy”.

        The nominal GDP is (maybe it’s even less than Italy’s, but then some sources give Russia’s as less than Australia’s!); the superior measure for comparison purposes is PPP GDP (as en passant in particular would know by experience), and both the IMF and CIA World book give Russia’s PPP GDP as 75% higher than Italy’s.

        Any country admitting/claiming to have:

        – 527 deployed ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments;

        – 1,444 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments;

        – 779 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.

        will always be considered of great consequence to me – Tucker Carson today pointed out how easily Russia and USA could go to war; if that were to happen, all else would become relatively inconsequential.

        • Lewis P Buckingham says:

          Well,Yes, The Russian federation could wipe out Australia and the world as we know it with nuclear arms.
          Their old rockets are still are good enough to supply the international space station.
          But MAD has been with us since the Bay of Pigs.
          Kissinger worked out how to deal with the Soviets, to show them the line they could not cross.
          Trump last month took the Eastern carrier fleet out of mothballs and will patrol the Atlantic to the gap.
          The UK is taking on the rest.
          A practical example of Kissinger’s technique is being played out in the North Korean ‘negotiations’ via Twitter.
          To the alarm of many in the West, Trump told the North Koreans that if they fired another missile into the Sea of Japan, or over the Japanese home islands, he would destroy The North Koreans.
          Note that the missile ‘tests’ have ‘inexplicably’ ceased.

          The problem for Putin is that he has ‘not diversified away from oil’.
          He is gaining huge rents as a result, but it is a one trick economic pony.
          Overseas diversification keeps on being frozen, its called ‘sanctions’.
          There is more on this.

          So the measures of economic activity are not parallels.

          Russia does not gain by world war,it just salami slices territory, think South Osetia, Ukraine, Syria.
          China is no different in that regard.

        • en passant says:

          What has become so strange in this debate on the coming war is how easily it is accepted that nuclear weapons will be used. It is not too many decades ago where such an event would have been unthinkable.
          So, is nuclear war the end of the world or not?
          Hiroshima ans Nagasaki recovered within a decade and the world population actually increased during WW2, so the 60M dead had little effect.

          100 or 1,000 bombs would certainly change the world …

          I doubt any major city in Oz is a target. We are irrelevant and a waste of an expensive missile. Years ago I ran a pilot project in Sydney for a global bank. As we were closing the project I asked why they chose Sydney. The American banker replied: “Waaall, if it all went wrong and we crashed and burned in Oz, nobody in the (New York) HQ would notice for a month.” That’s how we rate in the world scale

          • lloveday says:

            Oz was never realistically likely to be a direct victim of MAD. But what a commentator who’s name I cannot recall (nor can I find his article) wrote some years ago made sense to me – paraphrasing:

            A time will likely come when China will “thunder in the UN” (I remember that exact phrase) that Australia is wasting the Earth’s resources and denying access to its bountiful, sparsely populated land to the world’s needy, and in consequence China is annexing Australia.

            Obama was President, England half the Earth and a world away, so why not, I thought – approval would not be sought, resolutions of the UN condemning actions are worthless, and who was going to do a thing about it?

    • en passant says:

      I moved to Asia a couple of years ago – and yes, I drink Oz halal certified milk, sweetened by my Oz halal certified sugar and I do buy frozen Oz steak on occasion. Although it probably is, the meat is not labelled halal.

      So, back to the irreconcilable point: the cruelty of halal slaughter. We either commit the crime in Oz, our we export the crime to other countries and then complain. I will take Stuart seriously when he advocates the end to halal killing in Oz. PERIOD.

      • says:

        Ain’t going to happen. Too many politicians are dependent upon the Muslim vote. Besides, I’m not sure that halal slaughter is in any significant way more cruel than the way Australian farmers and butchers have always slaughtered their sheep – grasp the sheep’s head firmly under the jaw, bend the head back, and cut the throat with a sharp knife, breaking the sheep’s neck in the process. It’s not the actual killing that is cruel, but the way the animals are handled leading up to the slaughter. Shipping thousands of them across the oceans, spending weeks on the road and then in even purpose-built ships is beyond cruel. I’d ban live sheep and cattle exports on that basis alone.

  • lloveday says:

    Decades ago I had mates who were slaughtermen, and was able to watch slaughtering as it was done then, not sanitised, not a journalist, politician, camera or spy around.

    I guess that was “early-modern times in Australia”, as there was certainly no stunning, but nor were there “cries, gurglings and soul-piercing howls” from either sheep or cattle.

    The sheep were grasped expertly by the slaughtermen, their throats expertly slit with razor-sharp knives (they took pride in the swiftness of their one-movement kill) and the carcasses taken off for gutting, skinning and cutting up. I could not perceive any “frightened, bewildered eyes”, just “lambs to the slaughter”.

    The cattle were herded forward and one at a time, a bolt-gun placed on the forehead, trigger pulled and instead of a bullet, a retractable bolt penetrated the brain, causing virtually instant death and the cattle fell to the ground and… as for sheep.

    The pigs, being much more intelligent, were a different proposition (but we don’t export them to Muslim countries!). They knew what was up and fought – they entered the slaughter room via a conveyor belt, with “webbing” on either side restricting their speed to that of the conveyor belt, and were electrocuted. The biggest “domestic” pig I’ve ever seen looked like breaking out of the webbing, and that’s when I saw “frightened eyes” – those of the workers; the pig seemed to me to be no more frightened than a bull facing a matador, angry, itching for a fight.

    • says:

      I’ve killed many a sheep on the farm but never got used to it. But it had to be done, and we always ensured that it was as quick and painless as possible. Never slaughtered cattle or pigs. The cruelty is in the way the animals are treated beforehand.

      • lloveday says:

        As a 10 & 11yo living in a 24’x12′ galvanised iron shed with my 3 younger siblings and mother who worked night shift at the telephone exchange (no supporting mother welfare or Child Support then, or if there was it was not for mothers who deserted their a-hole, albeit wealthy, husbands) while I looked after the youngsters.
        I rode my bike a few miles out of town early morning and after school to set traps for rabbits and collect the ones in the traps that the foxes had not taken. The traps were, as you would surely know, steel, ragged jaw ones that must have caused considerable pain to the rabbits before I dispatched them with one blow on the back of the head with a steel bar. I did feel some sympathy for the rabbits, but it was law of the jungle and we 5 had to eat (and I sold a few for pocket money!). Caught yabbies in the nearby river, took them home an put them in the bath tub (“keeps them fresh Mum” – ulterior motive, hoping to get out of a bath); was throwing them into boiling water to cook cruel? I even occasionally brought down pigeons with ball-bearings from my shanghai – I guess there was suffering for those that were hit but flew off – I quickly ripped off the heads of those that fell to the ground; good eating.

  • says:

    Generation Snowflake are very dangerous in their proud and impenetrable ignorance.

  • says:


    In a time of turmoil in the Middle East, a 31 year-old infidel’s pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest shrine – The House of Allah – disguised as a wandering Dervish doctor, is even more remarkable today than it was in 1853.

    Next was a holy march to Mt Arafat, the Mountain of Mercy, a six-hour journey by camel in intolerable heat. Burton saw five men die and that night was forced to drive away grave-diggers who wanted to bury a ‘little heap of bodies’ near his tent.

    Then came the return to Mina and ritual hurling of forty-nine pebbles (stipulated to be no larger than a chickpea or lima bean) – carefully gathered and sorted at Muzdalifah – against three sacred pillars (Jimar or Jamarat) – in memory of Abraham who threw them at the Devil when his passage was barred at this very spot.

    Another major ritual at Mina is the Feast of the Sacrifice, or what Burton called “Three Days of Drying Flesh”. Animal slaughter was on such a scale that the whole valley became a ‘Devil’s punchbowl’, ‘the dirtiest slaughter-house’. Many pilgrims just stood at their tents, “directed the victim’s face towards the Kaaba, cut its throat, ejaculating ‘Bismillah! Allahu Akbar!’” (page 428)

    “Literally the land stank. Five or six thousand animals had been slain and cut up in this Devil’s punchbowl. I leave the reader to imagine the rest. The evil might be avoided by building abattoirs, or, more easily still, by digging long trenches, and by ordering all pilgrims to sacrifice in the same place.” (page 433)

    During the next two days the Great, Middle, and Little Satan pillars were again pelted, “bequeathing to the unfortunate inhabitants of Muna [Mina] the unburied and odorous remains of nearly 100,000 animals, we returned, 80,000 strong, to Meccah.” (page 501)

    Exiting the place for Mecca was no easy task, as so many were ‘flying from the revolting scene’. “I could not think without pity,” he noted, “of those whose religious scruples detained another day and a half in this foul spot.” (page 434)
    Little wonder that Burton’s “prescient soul drew bad auguries for the future.”

    The number of animals slaughtered each year has increased with the surge in non-Saudi foreigners visiting Mecca for the Hajj – from only 90,000 in 1927 to about two million today.

    A more recent pilgrim, Ezzedine Guellouz, then chief librarian at the National Library of Tunis, made this observation in his 1976 book, Mecca – The Muslim Pilgrimage.

    “The full performance of the rites of the Hajj demand that animals be sacrificed [by every pilgrim] – giving alms of equal value is not permissible. In the year of my pilgrimage, CE1396 (1976), nearly one and a half million animals were slaughtered. The authorities ensure that there is no risk of disease and plans are being made to find a solution to the problem of wasting the food.” (page 116)

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