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TAS Country : June 2nd 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011 Tasmanian Country 7 Unspeakable cruelty has to be stopped BARBARIC: A cow is slaughtered at an Indonesian abattoir. Picture: AFP In the immediate short term we should ensure that any cattle going to Indonesia are actually processed at a works that is up to standard and processes the cattle in a humane fashion.' CHEWS theFAT David Byard FOOTAGE shown on the ABC's Four Corners program shows cattle being killed with unspeakable cruelty, something that should never have happened or been allowed to happen. I am sure it will be investigated in time. However it is worth remembering that if this had happened in Australia, all those that were involved either directly or by association would be charged, would appear in court and I am sure would be found guilty of cruelty and sentenced appropriately. So what needs to be done and what are the alternatives we have? We can if we want to go to one extreme and completely ban the export of cattle to Indonesia for good. That action would suit some people in the community, but I am not sure it would have the lasting benefits the community would want. If we do decide to ban all live shipments, Indonesia will simply buy cattle elsewhere for slaughter and the images shown will continue. It will also mean Australia would have an extra 790,000 head of cattle to consume each year --- clearly the price of cattle in Australia will plummet. Our cattle from the north of Australia will have to be trucked in some cases more than 3000 kilometres for processing. Then the question will have to be asked have we sufficient capacity to process those cattle in the short time available, bearing in mind the wet season. These are just a couple of the questions that need to be considered. Sadly supply and demand rule the price and supply may outstrip demand, and could lead to a disaster not only for northern producers but for southern producers also, who will find that there is a glut of stock. What other actions can we take? In the immediate short term we should ensure that any cattle going to Indonesia are actually processed at a works that is up to standard and processes the cattle in a humane fashion. What we have seen so far is a number of different works that are obviously below standard. It will also be important to have Australian Government and industry assistance to implement acceptable transport, holding and slaughter practices in Australia's overseas markets, while at the same time respecting customs of those countries. These actions have to happen now, and should be driven by government, not for monetary gain but to show industry leadership, instil confidence and have a united front on a serious issue that won't be swept under the carpet as seems to be the case in the past. When all this is done it will be imperative to have an independent top- level industry inquiry into what has gone wrong and how. As meat producers and taxpayers, one question we need answered is what have MLA or other government agencies been doing in Indonesia. Did MLA officials or government officials know that these cruel practices were going on? How much money has been spent in Indonesia relating to beef and how much has MLA supplied? If we are to wipe away the shame of these practices and create confidence in the industry again then this needs to be a full, open and transparent inquiry and if individuals are found wanting the force of the law should come down on them. Australia should be helping any country to which we export live cattle to develop protocols as a condition of sale to any overseas country. A way of tracking cattle overseas may be to use NLIS tags and ensure Australian cattle all end up in a humane slaughtering facility. This is not a time for political grandstanding or knee-jerk reaction, but a time to fix a totally unacceptable problem for the long term. David Byard is CEO of the Australian Beef Association Opinion Live export ban could hit local markets hard From Page 3 System and electronic ear tags to track cattle exported, and ensure they were only sent to registered abattoirs in Indonesia. Mr Hall said a major issue for northern cattle producers was a lack of processing facilities. ''There are cattle producers in the Northern Territory having to send their cattle 3000 kilometres away to South Australia to get them processed,'' he said. ''One good thing that may come out of this is that the Northern Territory may get an approved export works there.'' Mr Hall said like many farmers he was grateful that the group behind this week's gruesome report, Animals Aust- ralia, had bought it to the attention of the industry and wider community. ''At least now we know what is going on over there, something can be done to fix it,'' he said. Mr Ludwig said this week he had ordered an official review of the whole live export supply chain and would consider all options, including a ban on the trade. The Federal Government's response to the issue, however, has come under fire from Lyn White from Animals Australia who filmed practices at 11 abattoirs in Indonesia over six nights. Ms White said the suspension of exports to those 11 processing facilities filmed would do little to prevent cruelty, when there were about 120 abattoirs processing Australian cattle across the country. Meat and Livestock Australia issued a statement this week saying is con- demned the animal cruelty seen on the television footage. MLA chairman Don Heatley said the industry fully accepted there was more work to do in Indonesia on improving animal welfare standards. ''All out work in Indonesia is directed at ensuring the type of actions depicted in this footage never occurs,'' he said. ''The industry has been working hard to introduce stunning into Indonesian abattoirs for some time, we are accelerating this work so that stunning is adopted in more facilities by the end of the year.''
May 26th 2011
June 9th 2011