Thursday, June 9, 2011

No Win situation for Oz Government

Many of you may not be aware of the absolute cat fight going on over the Australian government's banning live export of cattle to Indonesia after media stories exposed the atrocious cruelty of killing practices at many sub-standard Indonesian abattoirs.

WARNING - Some of the following film footage could be disturbing!

Cattle farmers are crying foul and saying they are going to go broke and thousands of head of cattle will need to be destroyed. Butchers in Australia have reported a drop in meat sales after the footage was shown on news shows and now Indonesia is threatening to sue Australia for banning the exports.

This report appeared in this morning's Australian newspaper, "The Age":

100,000 cattle await Indonesian slaughter June 9, 2011 - 12:04AM

About 100,000 cattle will still be slaughtered in Indonesia having missed the federal government's export cut-off date, the industry estimates.

But Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) says it's putting a system in place that will ensure they are only sent to abattoirs that meet the appropriate standards.

All livestock exports have been banned to Indonesia for up to six months in a bid to get it to improve its poor record on animal welfare.

"We've got a lot of work to do," MLA's Michael Finucan, who is based in Indonesia, told ABC Television on Wednesday.

Some eight staff have been added to the four animal welfare officers currently in the country to oversee, educate and work with local meat processors.

Mr Finucan said around 100,000 cattle missed the suspension deadline and will be slaughtered on Indonesian soil.

"But we're working on a system with operators to direct them to abattoirs that have appropriate standards, where we've done extra work," he said.

Mr Finucan said reforming the Indonesian slaughter process was not as simple as installing stun guns in the 100 or so facilities that process Australian cattle.

"Using stunning equipment doesn't necessarily mean a good animal welfare outcome, we need to train people in the correct use of them."

He defended the use of Australian restraining boxes at Indonesian slaughterhouses which have been slammed by animal welfare experts, saying they provided a better alternative.

Independent MP Bob Katter has savaged the MLA, saying it's squandered levies of about $4.20 for every ox sold in Australia that were meant to go towards improving the situation in Indonesia.

"They knew what was going on, they've known for years and years and years about it and they've done nothing about it, except provide a stupid box," he said.

"And the government - what have they done? Punished the beef producers."

Mr Finucan conceded Indonesia has been - and continues to be - a tough challenge.

"We've always known there's issues and that's why we commit resources and time and energy and effort to being in Jakarta and being in Indonesia," he said.

"We've always known there's more to do."

That story tells us a lot of things:

1. Indonesia is not short of live cattle meat. They have 10 class A abattoirs and many class B abattoirs that meet UN standards but the class B abattoirs do not have stun guns.

2. Meat and Livestock Australia knew that there were some abbotoirs 'up to standard', so they also knew there are a lot that wern't.

3. Admission that the ban is "... up to 6 months ....", and that it could be a lot shorter - so - Don't Panic! Don't Panic!

4. Stun guns AND training in their use is required - meaning we (Australia and in particular, the Australian MLA) have to get the equipment and the instructors 'on the ground' in Indonesia - we can't do that overnight - and the Australian government also needs to put Inspectors 'on the ground' at Indonesian abattoirs to ensure that humane killing practices are adhered to.

5. Australian restraining boxes at Indonesian slaughterhouses (supplied by the Australian MLA) were not up to standard and would not be permitted in Australian abbotoirs but they went ahead and put them in place anyway.

6. Bob Katter (a colourful - to say the very least- Independent Queenslander and federal Member of Parliament) blames the government for making the Australian MLA clean up their act - ????? Classic Katter logic when he admits the MLA knew for years what the problems were!

Bob Katter

7. There's a lot to be done and our government has taken a hard line to enforce those things being done!

No win situation for the government:
Do nothing and be condemned for sanctioning animal cruelty!
Do something and being condemned for knackering a greedy industry!

1 comment:

Sharon said...

That's kind of hard to take. I think all animals need to killed humanely if they are to be killed at all. No sense to cruelty to stay on the cheap or out of ignorance.