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We do not believe this is predominantly "payback" for the furore over the killing of convicted Australian drug runners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran or over Australia's heavy-handed asylum seeker turn back policy; though it is likely there is a little political tension between Indonesia and Australia, more likely it is an attempt by Prime Minister Widodo to appease certain sections of the Indonesian population.

Contrary to what this industry would have you believe, not all Indonesians are clamouring for hot fresh beef recently slaughtered and sold at wet markets (despite MLA’s best attempts to pimp Australian beef and rising demand, Indonesians outside Java are not traditionally huge beef consumers).

“Australian imported cattle” is not music to everyone’s ears in many of the destination countries. Whole sections of Indonesia have banned the possession/sale of Australian cattle because of their devaluing effect on the local cattle industry. Owning livestock in some third world countries is like a form of currency; when someone brings cattle (currency) in by the shipload it destabilizes the value of those who have scraped their little cattle herd (savings) together… very destabilizing, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it is this element that the PM is trying to placate, by reducing reliance on Australian live cattle imports.


Indo cattle

Image: SBS

Whatever the reason, if the quota restrictions remain, it will see some cattle having to be retained in Australia and fattened up (Indonesia has a 350kg weight restriction for feeder cattle so that they can profit from fattening them up there), some will be redirected to other markets that will require longer voyages and have less Australian presence and influence than Indonesia or shocking history of animal abuse (Vietnam = two+ years of supply chain leakage and/or sledgehammering cattle despite industry knowledge of the issue).

There really is nothing positive about losing one market or having access to it severely restricted when the alternatives are worse. Hard to hear we know, and yes - all live animal exports need to stop worldwide, but due to short voyages, high stun rate and high Australian presence, Indonesia is currently one of the best options for cattle if they are going to be exported.

Read The Age article here

It appears that the live animal export industry is perhaps expecting a pat on the back for its latest initiative: closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in all Vietnamese abattoirs processing Australian cattle.

CCTV cameras work after the fact - they do not prevent abuse; it is unconscionable that industry is knowingly sending cattle into situations where there is a very real risk of them being exposed to horrendous abuse... to a country, a realtively new market that has an horrific record already of, at the very best, not strictly adhering to ESCAS requirements and at the very worst, of supply chain leaks which saw Australian cattle having their spinal chords severed whilst fully conscious and stunning of those cattle attempted with a sledge hammer.

CCTV cameras also do nothing to address the problem of such supply chain leakages. The government and the industry must safeguard the process and the supply chain FIRST, before sending any animals in; if extreme growth has compromised industry's ability to meet the already extremely low animal welfare requirements, then industry needs to regain that ability before sending animals back into those markets.

Vietnam CattleIn the event that footage is captured of ESCAS or OIE breaches, that footage must be made available to the public, or at the very least to those animal protection agencies who have a knowledge of the industry and a history of involvement, in the interests of transparency and accountability.

The prime consideration for all exporters and suppliers is always maintaining or expanding the market and making a profit - this can never be congruous with the best consideration for the animals welfare - that always comes at very best, a poor second.

It is absurd for the government to expect anyone to believe their claims that animal welfare is a high priority for them in consideration of the live export industry whilst they refuse to impose any regulatory action on any of the repeat offender exporters. It's all well and good for Ms Penfold to talk the talk, but let's see if government and industry can or will walk the walk.

The only fail-safe way to ensure the best possible welfare outcome for any animals being sent from Australia to Vietnam or any other country, is to slaughter them IN Australia, under Australian law, to Australian standards.

Katrina Love 20 April 2015

Read Matt Brann's ABC article "CCTV cameras to be installed in all Vietnamese abattoirs and feedlots handling Australian cattle" here.

The transparency has already been muddied, with less information publicly available about non-compliance and official complaints of abuse and cruelty - now that that is in place, they will start to reduce auditing requirements.

“The recent report into Australia’s live export assurance system demonstrated that Australian livestock exported overseas are treated humanely in almost every instance and in accordance with international animal welfare standards,” Mr Joyce said.

adjective hu·mane \hyü-ˈmān, yü-\
1.  :  marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals; having or showing compassion or benevolence

"Humanely" is not open to interpretation, and it's time this industry stopped using that word in any relation to the treatment of "livestock" either here or overseas.

Taking a life by means of cutting the throat whilst fully conscious is the antithesis of "humane". There are only varying levels of barbarity - the animals being competently and irreversibly stunned prior to throat cut being the least barbaric and inhumane method and due to Halal requirements for those animals stunned, reversible stunning is not permitted. The vast majority of cattle exported live for Halal slaughter are stunned, but the stunning is reversable, meaning the potential for the animals to come to before bleeding out is a real possibility.

GAZA-08RS800x600                                                   Image: Animals Australia, Gaza 2013

Minister Joyce is also very keen to spread the misinformation that the recent ESCAS report demonstrated almost 99% good animal welfare outcomes - patently untrue and without any evidence to back up the claim; in fact, the "non-compliance with possible direct animal welfare impact" reported in table C3 of said report as 0.16% is in fact unknown, because it is unknown what percentage of animals were monitored from export to slaughter. but we imagine he will do whatever it takes and spread whatever lies he has to, to try to justify this industry in which he has a vested interest.

Even the government has admitted it doesn't know the actual rate of non-compliance, yet Joyce is happy to publicly, FALSELY state that compliance is 99%. This is a dirty, deceitful, cruel and shameful industry, endorsed and covered up for by our own government. KL

Read the full article here

Read  the article here.

Without live animal exports, we can have a sustainable, booming and RELIABLE chilled meat industry supplying the best Australia has to offer whilst keeping jobs and profits in Australia and providing certainty for all producers - good for the economy, good for "farmers", and MUCH better for the animals. It just needs commitment, and an investment of time, effort and money from both state and federal governments and some thinking outside the box.

nt hay

What's the alternative? Supplying live animals to an unreliable global market, where we realistically have no control over how those animals are handled or slaughtered; shipping jobs and profits offshore so a select few can make a profit from an indefensible and immoral trade that brings Australia international shame, supported by a government that, despite all its protestations, evidently does NOT take animal welfare seriously.

Australia is going to have trouble feeding its own growing population, and with global warming on top of our already considerable propensity for drought - we do NOT want to become the dust bowl of Asia - we can't properly feed and water the current cattle herds in Australia - does anyone think this is going to get easier? Who are the real losers? - as always, the animals. KL

Posted by on in Latest Info

Thank you to the 50 dedicated souls who braved the heat (especially those in the cow and sheep suits!) to march with Stop LIve Exports in the Freo Festival Parade, as part of the Fremantle Community. We got lots of cheers and claps and people were keen to take our flyers and stickers.

Special thanks to Committee members Michelle and Alicia for taking charge and getting people organised - I unfortunately had a back issue that saw me miss this one. Thanks also to Dominique, Crystal and Marjie for taking SO MANY photos! (LOTS more on Facebook)

You'll be seeing a lot more of us! KL


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