Andrew Wilkie says the live trade  industry had been proven to be systemically cruel.
Andrew Wilkie says the live trade industry had been proven to be systemically cruel. David Stuart

$1 billion live trade deal to China 'cruel' says Wilkie

INDEPENDENT Federal MP Andrew Wilkie has called the government a pack of sadists when it comes to its approach to animal welfare especially surrounding live trade exports.

He said a proposed trade agreement between Australia and China to export one million cattle each year was appalling.

The deal, which would double Australia's live trade exports, could be worth up to $1 billion.

Mr Wilke, speaking in Hobart on Friday, said the government should be winding up the trade not ramping it up.

He said the industry had been proven to be systemically cruel.

"It is also not in Australia's self economic interest," he said.

"Every time we send a boat load of live cattle or sheep overseas we send the jobs of those people that would process them.

"Those million head of cattle heading to China should be processed in Australia and employing many thousands of people."

Mr Wilke said it was a complete furphy from the industry that countries would only buy livestock.

"The fact is that countries are already buying a very large quantity of chilled and frozen Australian red meat," he said.

"There is no religious impediment to countries to buying chilled and frozen red meat."

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey said in Adelaide there was a massive opportunity for Australia in agricultural exports.

He said no agreement had yet been reached with China.

"The negotiations are ongoing and we are working very hard to land the deal," he said.

It is expected the free trade agreement between Australia and China will be announced at next week's G20 World Leaders Summit in Brisbane.

- APN NEWSDESK

 



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