Senator Pauline Hanson
Senator Pauline Hanson Liana Turner

Pauline Hanson says RSPCA backs up halal slaughter claims

PAULINE Hanson has said the RSPCA backs up her claims made in Senate estimates hearings that not all religious-slaughtered cattle in Australia are stunned before they are killed.

Hanson's office issued a statement late on Friday saying the RSPCA found eight slaughterhouses in Australia were approved to kill animals without stunning them first.

The statement was a response to a series of questions put to the Department of Agriculture in the first week of senate estimates hearings on May 24.

Senator Hanson grilled Department of Agriculture staff on halal and kosher slaughter and the regulation of slaughterhouses approved to perform religious slaughter.

"It has been brought to my attention that, under halal certification, these cattle are actually still alive when their throats are slit. So can you explain, then, under halal certification, what happens with the cows?" Senator Hanson said during the hearing.

Meat Exports assistant secretary Barbara Cooper told the hearing that all cattle that were halal-slaughtered in Australia were stunned before slaughter.

"I have been advised that is not the case, that in some slaughterhouses the cow is still alive when its throat is slit," Senator Hanson said.

"That is not my understanding," Ms Cooper said.

In the statement issued on Friday, Ms Hanson said the RSPCA advised her eight abattoirs were granted exemptions by state governments to slaughter animals without stunning them first.

The RSPCA lists the abattoirs as being in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

"As a senator I will continue to call upon the intergovernmental Agriculture Senior Officials Committee to strengthen regulatory arrangements," she said.

Senator Hanson's appearances at the estimates hearings has attracted some controversy, after she failed to appear before many of them. This round of hearings came to a conclusion on Friday. 

Hansard records show her party One Nation called the Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority to appear before the hearings but then failed to appear to ask them questions.

Officers from the authority travelled from Melbourne and Sydney as well as Canberra to appear before the hearing.
It was not required to appear by any other senator, and no questions were asked.

"Can you just take on notice to advise the committee of the costs that you have incurred by attending these estimates-by being called by senators that then do not have the courtesy to even turn up and ask the questions," Senator Gavin Marshall told the authority's representative.

The RSPCA has been contacted for comment.

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