Thursday, March 26, 2009

ZenTiger The wool over our eyes

Negotiations to resume exports of live sheep for slaughter are continuing but Agriculture Minister David Carter says a ban will remain unless they meet the highest welfare standards

Ministry of Agriculture - For Immediate Release

The Ministry of Agriculture today announced a bold new initiative in livestock management. Sheep and Cows will be exported live, following a bulk berth deal with the P&O Cruise company.

P&O have guaranteed 50% of cabins will be available to livestock on all outbound trips, with stop overs in Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu before arriving in Malaysia for slaughter.

Under the deal, all ovis and bovine receive a full continental buffet breakfast. Cows, Bison and Buffalo are also provided a light lunch from the "all you can eat" salad bar.

David Carter announced that the mix of human and animal on the cruise ship should add to a general relaxed feeling and help create an atmosphere of fun and excitement, so important to animals facing slaughter.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few holiday romances arising on the voyage" he added, saying that contraception would be left as a personal matter to the parties involved, and any short term relationships would not be reason enough to escape the abattoir at the other end.

"We've been very up front about this condition, and we will consider chaperons if this gets out of hand. We'll look at keeping the Tasmanians off such cruises, just in case. "

Jeanette Fitzsimons, co-leader of the Green Party was against the move. "Early indications is that this is an extremely humane way of treating our livestock, but if we were all vegetarians then we wouldn't be having this conversation. We should be shipping them all off shore."

Phil Goff, leader of opposition said today the new measures did not go far enough. "Under Labour, we would be including a full meal and access to the casino and dance floor. It's shocking the shortcuts National are prepared to take when it comes to humane treatment of livestock. I've seen a report that suggests 2 cows to a single economy cabin. Those cabins are smaller than the average prison cell built when Labour was in power, and there's absolutely no under floor heating."

Rodney Hide, leader of the ACT Party was in favour of ramping up the capacity and encouraging a large ship building industry to spring up from this initiative.

"We could be building much bigger ocean liners than the current P&O fleet. I've calculated that if we can get another 10 million cows on the high seas our methane gas output falls and we'll be owed a carbon credit under Kyoto."

David Carter said that initial figures from Treasury agreed. "We are looking at a 3 month cruise for all milking stock. We'll use hot air balloons to deliver milk product back to shore. The net effect on our carbon and methane emissions would likely put us into credit."

The Ministry confirmed humane treatment of animals does not just extend to our sheep and cows. "We looked at booking battery chickens economy class to China for processing, but it turned out the economy seat space was smaller than their cages, so we've had to look for alternate transport."

--Ends

Related Link: Like Lambs to the slaughter

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