Media statement: Allegations of animal cruelty in Vietnam
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is aware of serious cases of animal cruelty at an abattoir in Vietnam.
Video footage shown to departmental staff by Animals Australia on 9 June depicts abhorrent and indefensible treatment of cattle at an abattoir not approved to receive livestock exported from Australia.
Animals Australia also alleges that Australian cattle are being supplied to non-approved abattoirs in the Phu Xuygen district and of non-approved practices being used in ESCAS approved abattoirs.
The department’s first priority is to ensure the humane handling of all animals exported from Australia.
Although Animals Australia informed the department of the allegations on 9 June, the evidence required to start a formal investigation—including confirmation of the origin of the cattle—was received by the department late this afternoon following a written request.
A thorough investigation of this evidence has begun.
Prior to receiving this information, the department met with Vietnamese authorities, who have agreed to look into the allegations and report on their findings.
The department has also contacted all Australian exporters to this market to advise that a comprehensive investigation will be conducted when the information is received, backed by the full force of the department’s regulatory authority.
The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) was established to ensure international animal welfare standards are met at every point in the Australian live export trade.
It is a condition of ESCAS that all exporters must maintain control of supply chains and the movement of exported animals. Exporters unable to maintain this control will have supply chains or market access revoked.
While mistreatment of any animal is reprehensible, the department can only act to protect the welfare of animals exported from Australia in international markets.