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Pregnant cattle to Mauritius debacle Part III

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MP protests over live cattle cruelty

From the Australian 9 January 2013. By Miranda Rout

OUTSPOKEN Labor MP Kelvin Thomson has written to the Indonesian Agriculture Minister expressing his concern about "distressing and confronting" images of cattle being lifted by a crane with ropes tied around their heads.

Mr Thomson, one of the ALP's strongest critics of the $1 billion live export trade, said in the letter he hoped Suswono (who goes by one name) would take appropriate action over the photographs of Indonesian cattle being transported in East Java. The pictures have outraged local animal welfare activists.

The backbencher's move follows last year's Indonesian live cattle export crisis, when the Gillard government temporarily banned the cattle trade.

Cattle hoisted Juni Kriswanto Source AFP

A group of cows is shown with their necks painfully outstretched as workers load cattle in Surabaya, East Java.
Picture: Juni Kriswanto
Source: AFP

Political concern has been building in Australia over the fate of a shipment of cattle that was sent to Mauritius with pregnant cows on board, with Labor and Greens MPs expressing dismay over claims of significant discrepancies in the paperwork.

The Australian revealed the government was investigating possible breaches of regulations after the shipment was sent in October, despite Australian authorities stating none of the cattle onboard were pregnant.

Sixty-five of the cattle were later found dead in the Mauritian feedlot and local police are investigating the deaths, amid claims they were poisoned.

Animals Australia claims the ship's master reported no deaths on board, but the exporter's "accredited stockman" said at least 18 cattle died en route.

Mr Thomson said yesterday he was concerned about both incidents, having written to Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig about the shipment to Mauritius and now to Dr Suswono about the graphic images, shot by AFP, in Indonesia.

The photographs show a crane transferring three bony cows from a boat in the eastern Javanese city of Surabaya using a loop of rope around their skulls. Another image portrays seven live cows being lifted with their necks outstretched.

"I found them distressing and confronting," Mr Thomson said. "I hope the Indonesian government takes appropriate action in this case. I hope it will demonstrate in its enforcement of laws against animal cruelty its commitment to appropriate standards of animal welfare."

"This is yet another disturbing example of why independent oversight of this cruel industry is necessary," West Australian MP Melissa Parke said.



  • Louise Wednesday, 09 January 2013

    How can any human being with a heart and a soul allow such tormenting and cruel deaths to these poor animals. what have they done to deserve such deaths?
    Please stop this, please dont let this happen anymore. lets all stand together and stop this sick cruelty

  • harry Thursday, 10 January 2013

    The reality of the situation is this stuff will not stop unless Australian Government "works" with these contries to ensure the supply chain is in compliance.
    You can stop the export of Australian livestock but this type of treatment will continue on animals from other supply countries.
    Though not pleasant, by having Australa continue to supply and ensure compliances are being made to new process it will give the best possible outcome for the livestock long term.

    As far as trhe Maurtius situation, clear the people there have limited skills in the ablility to look after the cattle. By having 65 die by water clearly show they donot have the quality assurance program in place

  • SLEAdmin Monday, 14 January 2013

    Harry - the issue with the pregnant cattle sent to Mauritius, is not Mauritius' ability to look after the them, and there is no suggestion that they died "by water" - the deaths have been marked as suspicious - possibly poisoned.

    The issue is the fact that DAFF issued paperwork in Australia stating that none of the cows were pregnant and in fact it appears that almost 100 were pregnant.

    Although it is not illegal to ship pregnant cattle, they require alternative arrangements on board and as it is illegal to slaughter pregnant cows in Mauritius, the client is understandably angered to receive 100 pregnant cows out of a shipment of 2061.

    In short - the problem is in now way with Mauritius' ESCAS compliance, but with false documents being provided by DAFF and deaths on board not being reported, as required by law.

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