Government lifts live export ban
Federal agriculture minister Joe Ludwig last night announced the resumption of the live export of cattle to Indonesia, which was suspended a month ago after a graphic broadcast by ABC’s Four Corners showed ill-treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesian abbatoirs.
Senator Ludwig said that cattle exporters could now apply for export permits, provided they use the individual cattle tracking system.
The decision came after cattle destined for live export were left in limbo throughout Australia’s north, creating chaos for the $320-million-a-year industry.
However, animal welfare groups were shocked by the decision, saying that nothing has changed since the ban was imposed, and that no Indonesian abbatoir has been re-inspected by Australian officials.
“Once again we are relying on the live export industry for information and assurances that animals are being treated properly. 20 years of misplaced trust in this industry is what got us into this mess in the first place and what led to the brutal deaths of over 6 million cattle in Indonesia,” said Lyn White of animal rights group Animals Australia, who conducted much of the research which the shocking Four Corners report was based on
The livestock industry welcomed the decision, but was tight-lipped on the issue, saying that export levels might not return to normal levels for a considerable period of time, and saying that trade would resume under “new conditions that will assure the welfare of Australian cattle throughout the supply chain.”
“The industry and Government must now work together with Indonesia to bring additional facilities up to international standards, so that the $320 million a year trade can return to normal levels as soon as possible while also assuring the welfare of Australian cattle throughout the supply chain,” said a joint release by Meat and Livestock Australia, Livecorp, the National Farmers’ Federation, NT Cattleman’s Association, WAFarmers, the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, the Cattle Council of Australia, Agforce, the Sheepmeat Council of Australia and the Goat Industry Council of Australia.