A LABOR backbencher has suggested the federal agriculture department should be stripped of its oversight of live animal exports following the latest allegations of the mistreatment of Australian sheep in Kuwait.
Animals Australia in August filmed sheep being cruelly slaughtered in a banned Kuwaiti meat market.
The footage was shown on national television on Thursday night.
"It is a matter of concern to me that it's taken the efforts of Animals Australia to bring these breaches to the attention of the government," federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson told ABC Radio on Friday.
"I'm increasingly of the view we should take responsibility for animal welfare out of the agriculture department altogether and put it somewhere else like the department of health."
Mr Thomson said the latest allegations were "serious" and if it was proven that exporters had sold animals outside the approved supply chain they should be stripped of their licences.
Australia suspended live animal exports to Indonesia in mid-2011 after ABC television's Four Corners program aired video depicting the mistreatment of animals.
Exports resumed a month later after an agreement was reached on new standards for the treatment of livestock bound for slaughter.
The exporter supply chain assurance system was extended to cover Kuwait in March this year.
The agriculture department says it has launched an investigation into the most recent incident.
"If these animals hypothetically have been moved outside of that supply chain that would be a breach and we'd make a judgment about the compliance response we'd need to make," department deputy secretary Phillip Glyde told ABC television on Thursday.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie says the revelations of cruelty in Kuwait makes a mockery of the government's efforts to clean up the industry.
"Australia's live animal export safeguards remain ineffective and our livestock, in particular cattle and sheep, are still being routinely abused en route to and in overseas markets," Mr Wilkie told AAP in a statement.
The Tasmanian MP has given notice of another private member's bill to mandate the stunning of all Australian livestock before they are slaughtered overseas.
He plans to introduce it into parliament on Monday.
The RSPCA says the footage exposes the "complete inability" of the exporter supply chain assurance system to protect Australian animals.
RSPCA chief scientist Bidda Jones wants the government to immediately require the stunning of all live exports before slaughter.
"Once again we have seen the failings of this regulatory system," Dr Jones said in a statement.
"First Indonesia, now Kuwait. How many times do we have to see these breaches before something more is done?"
Animals Australia in February released footage of Australian cattle still being inappropriately killed in Indonesian abattoirs.
At the time the group said its video proved workers couldn't even be relied upon not to start cutting up Australian animals before they were dead.
Thursday night's footage shows sheep being killed on top of other dying animals in Kuwait.
One sheep has its throat cut more than 20 times with a short knife.
Anger as more live export abuse footage emerges
More footage has emerged allegedly showing Australian livestock being abused overseas.
This time, welfare group Animals Australia says it has proof that Australian sheep are being inhumanely handled and killed in the notorious Al Rai meat market in Kuwait.
The Al Rai market is not approved to receive Australian sheep under the Federal Government's new ESCAS welfare system for live exports.
The Department of Agriculture has launched an investigation, which is expected to take some weeks. DAFF says it's the responsibility of the exporter to ensure its animals do not end up outside approved supply chains.
In the footage, one sheep appears to have its throat cut with a knife 24 times.
ESCAS, or the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, was introduced after Animals Australia released footage of Australian cattle being abused in Indonesian abattoirs.
That led to a month-long suspension of the live cattle trade in June last year.
Ninety-nine per cent of all the foreign markets for Australian livestock must now have ESCAS-approved abattoirs and supply chains in place. It is illegal for an exporter to send livestock into an unapproved supply chain such as the Al Rai market.
Despite repeated requests for an interview, the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig, has been unavailable to speak with the ABC.
Government backbencher Kelvin Thompson says he thinks responsibilty for the oversight of welfare in the live export trade should be taken away from DAFF and given to the Department of Health instead.
"It is a matter of concern for me that it's taken the efforts of Animals Australia to bring these breaches to the attention of the government."
Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White says the system has failed.
"This is the scene of some of the worst cruelty that I've documented to Australian sheep over the past nine years," she said.
"We were appalled to discover up to 200 sheep were being openly sold at this market, in breach of the new Australian regulations.
"The exporter should be investigated and, if found guilty of these breaches, the strongest possible penalty should be imposed."
Meanwhile, a newspaper in Pakistan is reporting its federal ports minister wants an investigation into how Australian sheep, some infected with scabby mouth, were allowed to be unloaded in Karachi.
An Australian boat carrying 22,000 head of sheep rejected in Bahrain unloaded in the city on Thursday, Australian time.
The Pakistan Observer reports the ship wasn't scheduled to travel to Pakistan and an inquiry will be held by the department of ports and shipping.
Kuwait sheep slaughter: control over supply chain a failure
More disturbing evidence of cruel slaughter of Australian sheep aired on television last night proves Australian Government attempts to tighten up practices aren’t successful, says Greens WA animal spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC, echoing the comments by federal colleagues.
“I am deeply disturbed by the suffering of animals transported far from our shores. The majority of the general public has believed for a long time that live exports must end. It’s high time that the Government heeded that call.
“This impractical, abusive trade is beyond the pale. Animals are not transported humanely. Animals are not slaughtered humanely. We have lost faith in Government reassurances of a monitoring system being able to tighten compliance.
“It’s not hard to do better. Meat processing can be shifted back to Australian shores,” stated Ms MacLaren.
Fresh images shown on ABC TV’s Lateline program last night of the cruel slaughter of Australian sheep in a Kuwait market reveals Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig’s new live export supply chain assurance system is fatally flawed, says said Greens Senator and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.
“Coming on the back of the botched handling of two shipments of sheep stranded for the past week in the Middle East this footage should prompt the government to end live exports once and for all.
“The Kuwait footage again reveals that the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System was designed to provide the government with a political fix and is a bankrupt solution to the suffering of Australian livestock.
“The exporter and the government have failed to inject the resources on the ground necessary to ensure sheep are sold, handled and slaughtered in accordance with the Minister’s new system.
“It should not be up to Animals Australia to monitor the live export industry for the government and pick up that animals are being handled outside of the accredited supply chain.
“If proper regulation and monitoring systems are not being put in place, as this new footage and other incidents since March suggest, then the live exports trade must cease.
“This footage showing flagrant contempt for Minister Ludwig’s supply chain assurance system, instituted in March 2012, will distress the public anew.
“The Department of Agriculture’s initial delay in acting on information provided by Animals Australia is disappointing but the Greens welcome the commitment to now investigate,” Senator Rhiannon said.