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Farmers Respond to Indonesian Abattoir Abuse

29 February 2012

AUSTRALIA - In response to footage shown on Australian television earlier this week, and notification from the Ministry of Agriculture that they are investigating alleged animal cruelty at two certified Indonesian abattoirs, farming organisations express concern.

WAFarmers President, Mike Norton, said WAFarmers members are committed to maintaining the highest animal welfare standards for all animals under their care.

“The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) is currently completing an investigation into the supply chains identified in the footage,” Mr Norton said.

“WAFarmers is not aware of all the details and is awaiting the release of the report from DAFF. At this stage, it is unclear whether the cattle depicted in the vision are Australian cattle or if in fact some of the vision is current footage under the new framework.

“As has been noted, the release of this vision has been strategically timed to coincide with the 1 March implementation date for the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), in Tranche 1 markets (Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Turkey).”

Mr Norton said WAFarmers was supportive of the implementation of the ESCAS, which the Australian Government established last year as a new regulatory framework for the export of livestock.

The ESCAS framework incorporates a process for the investigation and management of any instance of non-compliance. ESCAS holds individual exporters and supply chains responsible for animal welfare practices.

Queensland farm lobby group, AgForce also supports a full Federal government investigation.

AgForce Cattle president Grant Maudsley said grass-roots cattle producers remain firmly committed to improving animal welfare standards here and overseas.

“What we saw on our TV screens is unacceptable to the cattle industry and we want to send a very clear signal to the Australian public that such practices need to be investigated and if necessary appropriate action taken,” Mr Maudsley said.

“The footage raises questions that can only be answered by a thorough review so let’s allow that review to take place.”

Mr Maudsley said since the new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) system was introduced last year, private exporters and the government have made strong progress in improving animal welfare standards in approved Indonesian abattoirs.

“The live export industry has never pretended it could transform the processing practices employed in a foreign country overnight and there would be challenges,” Mr Maudsley said.

“We appreciate the ongoing support of the Federal government, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig and the general public in allowing us the time to effect real change.

The DAFF report, when released, will identify any non-compliance and take corrective action with the supply chain as required.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

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