Cattle Council Against 2nd Halt of Exports to Indonesia Over New Video of Animal Cruelty

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The Cattle Council of Australia ( CCA ) has expressed its opposition to halt live meat exports to Indonesia following the release of a new video of animal cruelty in the south east Asian nation. CCA Vice President Peter Hall said in lieu of a blanket ban which would be bad for the cattle industry, new procedures could identify the erring slaughterhouse.

Footage of two abattoirs in Jakarta shot in January showed cattle being mistreated at the Temur Petir Abattoir, according to Animals Australia which engaged the services of an Indonesian investigator. The video showed a slaughterman struggling to position an Australian cow into a restraint by using a knife sharpener.

The animal's throat was cut without stunning the cow. Flesh was cut from its neck while the animal was still moaning in pain for a few minutes. The cow had an Australian ear tag and was a droughtmaster steer, which is a breed of animals exported from Western Australia to Indonesia.

It is the second video of animal cruelty in Indonesia. The first video led to a two-month ban on cattle export to Indonesia, which affected cattle raisers in Australia.  It was released by Lyn White, campaign director of Animals Australia, which was shot in 11 different Indonesian slaughterhouses and shown over ABC's Four Corners programme.

The second video was aired by ABC Television on Tuesday night. The video showed 46 potential violations of the Australian government's new checklist designed to protect animals exported overseas. The establishment of the new benchmarks led to the lifting of the export prohibition made in June 2011.

Bidda Jones, chief scientist of RSPCA, said the breaches include the use of Mark 1 boxes, the animal not being stunned prior to its killing, the use of water prior to slaughter, restraining for more than 10 seconds, interference of the slaughtermen with the wound before the animal is confirmed dead and lack of confirmation of the beast's death.

Australian Agriculture Joe Ludwig said his office is investigating the complaint. Ms White said the latest video would give Australians the right to feel betrayed because despite government assurance, the cruel treatment of Australian cattle when exported goes on.

Australian Greens pushed for the suspension of the live animal exports which is valued at $340 million yearly. Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said a total ban on exports would not destroy the industry because local abattoirs would reopen instead.

The focus of the industry on live export trade since the 1980s caused the loss of 40,000 meat industry jobs in Australia. Through an export ban, the economic benefits would return to Australia, insisted Mr Rhiannon. However, Live Exports Council Chief Executive Alison Penfold said the senator's comments were naïve.

Industry groups rejected the suggestion since the new rules allow the government to address the problem with individual slaughterhouses.

"The beauty of the system now is that it we have one falling down on one particular system somewhere, it's only part of the cog.... That can be dealt with separate to the industry," said CCA Vice President Peter Hall.

"Now we are in a position where there is a system of regulation put in place by the Australian government. If there are problems identified, there is a rule book and there are penalties involved," Reuters quoted Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association President Luke Bowen.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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