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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.

humane
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

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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



ABCDEF


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"The ban was lifted a month after it was introduced.

Indonesia subsequently introduced import quotas in an effort to lift the country's self-sufficiency, cutting Australian beef imports by 75 per cent."

Actually... Indonesia imposed a 350 kg weight restriction and cut quotas from 750,000 head to 420,000 (a 44% reduction) from 2009 to 2011 PRIOR to the five week suspension. After the suspension, they imposed a further 34% reductio, cutting quotas from 420,000 to 276,000. They never fail to forget to mention that.

They also ignore the fact that Australia was aware of Indonesia's goal for self sufficiency as early as 2007, yet failed to plan for the quota cuts in line with trying to achieve that self-sufficiency.

Indo abattoir rpe slaughter AA

Regardless of the quota cuts pre and post-suspension, the fact is, the exposure of the ongoing issues in Indonesian slaughterhouses led to a five week suspension, and that five week suspension led to the implementation of ESCAS and the increase in stunning rates for Australian cattle sent to Indonesia from 10% to 80-90% (and a flow on of stunning to non-Australian cattle). Under threat of industry closure, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) achieved in 18 months what they had been unwilling or unable to achieve in the previous 18 years; this indicates to us how seriously they took animal welfare - they were aware of all the issue that were exposed thanks to Lyn White, Animals Australia and Four Corners - they just did nothing about them until they were forced to. KL

Link to full article

Posted by on in Latest Info

Picture: one of the Australian cattle stabbed in the eyes.

Egypt 2013 AA

And here we go for Round 3.

The live cattle trade to Egypt was suspended in February 2006 after footage emerged showing Australian cattle having their eyes stabbed and rear leg tendons slashed to incapacitate them; the suspension was lifted in May 2009 after the construction of a state-of-the-art "closed loop" feedlot and abattoir and iron-clad assurances that animals would be well-treated.

In May last year, trade was suspended again after footage was supplied by an Egyptian vet, showing Australian cattle being stabbed in the eyes and having their rear leg tendons slashed to incapacitate them. There was also horrific footage of cattle being slaughtered in incorrectly operated full inversion slaughter boxes - these boxes are banned in Australia, USA and the UK because of the pain and trauma they cause the cattle.

Posted by on in Latest Info

Egypt sokhna AA

A BILL to ban live animal exports will be reintroduced in the Senate this week by the Australian Greens as the party ramps up calls to replace live ex with a boxed meat trade.
Read full article here.
Image: Animals Australia

As you are probably already aware, the Pearl of Para left Fremantle last Tuesday 3 September with 5240 cattle on board bound for Israel and returned to Fremantle waters on Monday 9 September with mechanical problems related to propeller shaft coupling system. It has been sitting in Cockburn Sound for three nights. It is expected that repairs will be carried out early next week and the cattle are still on board and it is stated by exporter that he would like them to remain on board.

PofPRSWM3
Pearl of Para in Fremantle port in June. Photo: K. Love


Whilst some may argue that unloading them and reloading them will add to their stress, one has to question the logic and particularly the consideration for animal welfare (so publicly touted by industry, exporters and particularly Alison Penfold of Australian Live Exporters' Council as being of paramount concern) behind adding two weeks minimum to a three week journey to Israel.

Shipping live animals by sea is not only inherently cruel, but also inherently risky - mechanical failure onboard ships is not common, but it happens. If it happens with a load of cars or coal, no biggie - the only possible loss is economic.

When it happens with live animals, the loss involves hundreds or thousands of lives, as evidenced aboard this very ship when mechanical failure saw somewhere between 400 and 1,000 (estimates vary) out of 3,400 breeding dairy cattle from one U.S. shipment die en route to Russia or be euthanized upon arrival due to their extremely poor condition. The deaths were attributed to a build up of ammonia fumes that appears to have been caused by a breakdown in manure removal and ventilation systems. It is worth noting that the ship is now carrying almost an extra 2,000 cattle compared to that ill-fated voyage.

We are reserving judgement on this until we see who is appointed to the role, the background they have, the connections they have the vested interests they have and of course, what power to affect change they have. Straight off though, we have to say this is a poor version of the promised Independent Office of Animal Welfare that was promised.


The producers and exporters won't support anything that increases welfare requirements and therefore further restricts the markets they have access to, and we won't support another token toothless tiger who has no real power to tangibly reduce the suffering that animals in this trade must endure.


We know that the only way to seriously change welfare outcomes for the millions of animal victims of this trade, is to phase it out in favour of an expanded, chilled only trade.

More misinformation, disinformation and lies. National Nine News stated:

"Indonesia reduced its import quota after live exports were temporarily banned in 2011 when footage emerged of Australian cattle being mistreated in Indonesia.

The live export trade dropped from 660,000 head-a-year to 260,000."

Knowing this to be patently untrue, it prompted me to compare the actual percentage of reduction in quotas pre and post suspension.

CATTLE THE AGE

Image: The Age

Indonesia did in fact further reduce its quotas after the five week suspension of trade, but it wasn't from 660,000 to 260,000!

Quotas had already been dropped 30 % from 750,000 in 2009, to 520,000 in 2010 - over a year befor 4 Corners footage was shown.

There was another reduction from 2010 to 2011, still before the suspension, from 520,000 to 420,000 (19 %) in 2011.

So in fact, the reduction in quotas over the past two years since the suspension (420,000 to 260,000 = 38%), has been less than the reduction prior to the suspension 2009 to 2011 (44 %).

This unbalanced, un-researched and naive opinion piece is from Brendan O'Reilly - Mr O'Reilly runs beef cattle and merino sheep on properties in the Southern Tablelands district of NSW. Our comments in bold.

 

Animals Australia wants a ban on all live animal exports from Australia, and live cattle are the latest target. Its lobbying is part of a worldwide campaign coordinated by the UK headquartered World Society for the Protection of Animals. In 2011 Animals Australia succeeded in convincing the Australian Government to introduce a temporary ban on the entire live cattle trade to Indonesia, and the continuing fallout threatens the future of the industry. Animals Australia, WSPA, CWF, Voiceless, RSPCA, HSI, PETA and Stop Live Exports along with every other animal welfare or animal advocacy organisation and about 70% of the Australian population wants a phase out of live animal exports and not just from Australia. Animals Australia did not "convince" the government to introduce a temporary ban - they furnished them with video evidence, DAFF investigated and made the decision to suspend trade to Indonesia.

 

To put the live cattle trade into perspective, Australia exported 617,301 head (valued at over $600 million) in 2012 (down 11% on 2011). Indonesia accounted for 45% of these exports, despite numbers to Indonesia being down 33% in 2012. In much of the NT and the northwest of WA, well over half of farm income comes from live exports, with about 87% of such exports historically going to Indonesia.

 

Animal activists say that the type of agriculture they are most opposed to is "factory farming". The Northern cattle industry is about as far removed from this type of farming as you can get. Mr O'Reilly seems to be unaware of the fact that there are multiple issues of concern to animal advocates - one of them is live export, another is factory farming (two completely different and separate issues) and there's probably another 20 on the list. He also seems to lump all animal advocates, animal welfare agencies and members of the general public into the "animal activists" basket.

 

The live cattle trade to Indonesia differs fundamentally from the trade in live sheep due to the relative proximity of the Indonesian market, and limited domestic outlets for these cattle. Australiais the only country that requires specific animal welfare outcomes for live animal exports and our ongoing involvement in the trade is a positive influence on animal welfare conditions in destination countries. A key disadvantage of reliance on the trade is resultant dependence on the decisions of the Australian and Indonesian governments. The key disadvantage Mr O'Reilly refers to is an issue we have been warning about for years.

 

Contrary to popular belief, Australia is far from alone in the live cattle trade. The US imports over 2 million head of live cattle annually (mostly from Canada and Mexico). Brazil exported 512,236 live cattle in 2012 (up 26%) to countries such as Venezuela, Turkey and Egypt. The EU also has a substantial trade, both across internal borders (several million head annually) with smaller numbers going to non-EU destinations (such as Russia, Turkey, and North Africa). India is also shaping up as a major player. Despite the number of countries involved in the trade, activists have concentrated their campaign on the EU and on Australia. Australia is the only country that spruiks itself as a "world leader in animal welfare". We can't claim that title whilst we continue to send millions of animals to their deaths in overseas markets where for 80% of them, the best they can hope for is a sharp knife and adherence to the woefully low OIE standards for handling and slaughter that the Australian Government has mandated. Nearly 70,000 animals have died on board, en route just in the last three years; 30,000 of them died from starvation. Whilst the mortality rate may be less than one percent, the morbidity rate is arguably 100%, with animals having to endure 24/7 fluorescent lighting, engine and ventilator/extractor noise (this is so loud it can be heard from 500 metres away when ships are in port), seasickness caused by the roll, pitch and yaw of the vessels, sea spray blindness and extremes of temperature on open-decked vessels and cramped conditions with insufficient space for all animals to lie down - depending on weight, sheep may be allocated as little as 0.64 square metres each, on voyages commonly lasting 20 to 30 days, but not rarely over 30 days and on one voyage to Izmar, Turkey, 41 days.

Stocking density Lynn SimpsonRS

Stocking density for 'feeder' cattle from Australia. Photo source: Dr Lynn Simpson's ASEL submission

 

In many countries, which import live cattle, tradition, religion and lack of refrigeration means frozen or chilled beef is not a viable alternative. A further reason for Australian live export relates to the very high relative costs of Australian processors. Australia exports nearly all its commodities in a raw state because it can't compete on cost with foreign factories. If tradition and religion are factors in the continuation of live exports, how is it that our chilled meat exports are worth $7 billion as opposed to our $800 million live export trade, and we supply chilled, Halal-certified meat from animals slaughtered in Australia, to every country we currently export live animals to (or used to export live animals to) apart from Turkey?

 

Animals Australia claims that"400,000 cattle could be processed in Northern Australia rather than exported to Indonesia, and northern producers could more than double their earnings before interest and tax". I would like Mr O'Reilly to provide evidence that this is not possible.

 

Such a claim beggars belief, as does activists' stated enthusiasm for a bigger meat processing industry in Northern Australia. Animals Australia's strong advocacy of vegetarianism instead suggests that that they would far rather close down Australia's livestock industries entirely. Animal activists appear to be using a strategy aimed at bankrupting both producers and others involved in the supply of livestock commodities through disrupting exports, having previously targeted the wool, live sheep and kangaroo meat industries. Animals Australia does not equal "animal activists" - this is a blanket description that Mr O'Reilly seems to apply to anyone who has the best interests of animals at heart or works to improve their treatment and status in Australia. Only the government, the suppliers and the industry itself have the power to shut down this industry. Agencies such as Animals Australia are just supplying the evidence, which is then investigated by DAFF and acted upon (or not).

 

So how realistic is the claim that the meat processing industry in Northern Australia could replace the live export trade to Indonesia and other countries? A little history never goes astray.

 

Many people are unaware that no large scale abattoirs currently operate north of a line between Townsville and Perth (over a third of the continent). All that exists are small scale meatworks serving local needs (generally killing less than a hundred head per week) so that most cattle surplus to the live export trade need to be trucked very long distances to the South (for often poor returns). Substantial abattoirs used to exist at locations such as Wyndham, Derby, Broome, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Batchelor, Mt Isa and Cloncurry. They all eventually closed due to a combination of competition from the live cattle trade, an inability to secure the year-round cattle supplies, and the vagaries of the international markets for beef. I think Mr O'Reilly has just reinforced our view that local processing and Australian meatworks industry has been very much negatively impacted by the live export industry. Who cried for those jobs lost?

 

Over the past couple of years there have been efforts to start up a major Northern export abattoir. AACO is building a new export abattoir near Darwin but work was suspended owing to difficulties in finding an Asian partner. AACO has announced that it is prepared to proceed on its own, though not all industry observers are convinced. It is notable that AACO's plant was intended to concentrate on heavier cattle that do not meet live export specifications and was never meant to replace the live trade. Noises about opening export abattoirs elsewhere in the North have effectively gone nowhere.

 

In short the capacity to process export beef on any significant scale in most of the North is non-existent and any new plant (if it is ever completed) would take about two years to become operational.

 

While the animal activists, animal advocates, animal welfare agencies and members of the general public and politicians opposed to live export won't admit it, the live cattle trade suits the comparative advantage of both Northern producers and Indonesia. Northern Australia has vast swathes of poor quality land with highly variable and seasonal rainfall, that can breed cattle very cheaply but has limited capacity to supply fattened cattle year round. Indonesia on the other hand can feedlot and slaughter cattle cheaply. In respect of animal welfare, road transport from the North to domestic abattoirs can exceed 24 hours by road train, and with cattle more readily fed and watered on board ship, sea transportation to Indonesia can be less stressful. I don't for a second believe that we won't admit that the live cattle trade suits the Northern producers - it suits them all too well, which is why we never see any positive input into alternatives for them.

 

The crisis in the live trade was precipitated by the ABC Four Corners documentary (aired on 30 May 2011) on cruelty to Australian sourced cattle in Indonesian abattoirs. Independent parliamentarians, Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon, demanded an immediate ban on such exports. Following support from Agriculture Minister Ludwig, an immediate ban on the abattoirs in question resulted. This was followed by a six-month ban (suspended on 6 July 2011) on the entire live trade to Indonesia. A condition on the resumption of the trade allowed the export of live cattle only where animals are managed through supply chains that meet international standards. A SIX-MONTH BAN? A five-WEEK suspension was put in place after DAFF's investigation of hours of footage provided to them by Animals Australia, and advice from Australia's chief Scientist.

 

Fresh calls to ban live exports arose on 7 May this year when "new" footage showing Australian cattle being inhumanely slaughtered in Egypt was shown on the ABC's 7.30 Report.

 

Australians have been lead to believe that the TV footage showing cruelty that shocked the public was typical of what occurs inside Egypt and Indonesia. The impression was also given that it was Animals Australia who had infiltrated Indonesian abattoirs. It now transpires that the TV footage was supplied by Tracks Investigations - The Eco Spooks, a UKbased commercial film production service to animal protection groups. Lyn White from Animals Australia did in fact visit ("infiltrate" implies she posed as a worker or acted dishonestly or misled to gain access) several randomly selected abattoirs and personally gained footage as did an accompanying animal advocate, Ian Shersby from the UK; the Four Corners crew did their own research, shot their own footage which reinforced the findings by Lyn White and Ian Shersby. Lyn White has worked with Mr Shersby on every investigation she had done since 2003. A spokeswoman for Four Corners said the footage shot by Animals Australia and its associate "was done openly" and this was obvious when viewing the footage.

Lyn-White-openly-gathering-evidence-in-Indonesian-abattoir

Lyn White openly gathering evidence in Indonesian abattoir. Photo: Animals Australia

 

Tracks Investigations has been doing work for Animals Australia (including in Egypt, the Middle East and Indonesia) for the past eight years. It also seems that the latest footage showing cruelty at Egyptian abattoirs (if the Egyptian authorities are to be believed) may have been filmed as far back as 2009 and subsequently "saved up" for recent release to maximise media impact. This all suggests that the Government and the public have been reacting emotionally to footage that is purpose made to shock rather than convey a balanced image of the industry. Given that the cattle shown in the footage taken in Egypt in October 2011 and April 2012 and given to Animals Australia in April by an Egyptian vet working at Ain Sokhna abattoir have been identified as Australian, and given that Australia suspended the supply of live cattle to Egypt from 2006 to 2010, I fail to see how this footage of Australian cattle could have been taken in 2009.

 

Most cattle industry players in Australia, as well as officials in Indonesia, would have accepted a suspension of supply to any abattoir guilty of undue cruelty, and this would not have been unduly disruptive. The sudden ban on all cattle exports (with accompanying vilification of Indonesia by our media and politicians) instead seriously damaged the cattle industry, and caused shock and anger in Indonesia. As did the footage showing brutal treatment (including eye-gouging, tail-breaking, whipping, kicking and rubbing chilli into steers' eyes) of Australian cattle in several Indonesian abattoirs cause shock and anger amongst caring Australians.

 

In Asian culture the concept of "saving face" (a combination of reputation, social status, dignity, and honour) is a central principle of etiquette. Causing Asian people to "lose face" (which was done recklessly and in full publicity through front page media on this occasion) is a grievous offence not readily forgiven. Such gross transgression by Australia was worsened by undertones of racism, religious intolerance, and moral superiority that still haunt our historic relationship with Asia. Unsurprisingly and in retaliation, Australia's live export quota ended up being slashed by about a third and export specifications were tightened, using the pretext of Indonesia moving towards becoming self-sufficient in beef production. Mr O'Reilly seems to completely ignore the fact that Indonesia cut quotas of live cattle exports from Australia, from 750,000 in 2009, to 510,000 in 2010 PRIOR to the footage even being shot by Animals Australia or Four Corners. There was a further reduction in quotas from 2010 to 2011 again prior to any perceived fallout from the suspension.

 

The shutdown of live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011 and the way it was done caused havoc because cattle which would have ordinarily been exported to Indonesia remained in the Australian market (with nowhere to go in many cases). It also led to financial losses all along the supply chain from producers to the Indonesian consumer, who suffered skyrocketing meat prices.

 

A very wet monsoon season in 2010-11 and to a lesser extent again in 2011-12 helped to delay some of the impact on Northern graziers because excess stock could be temporarily carried over. A poor wet season in 2012-13 (except for some unseasonal late rain in the Northwest) has now led to a flood of Northern cattle onto the domestic market (especially in Queensland). This contributed to falls in both live export prices and domestic saleyard prices (which were already under pressure from a poor season in the south). Hundreds of thousands of cattle are now likely to suffer from shortages of feed and thousands of unmarketable cattle may need to be shot in what will almost certainly be a bigger animal welfare crisis than that initially complained about.

 

About 30 per cent of Northern cattle producers are now believed to be under serious financial stress and Northern cattle properties are said to have fallen in value by between 25 and 40 per cent. AACO, the largest producer, now estimates its total losses as a result of the live trade suspension or as is a more commonly held belief, due to drought, bushfires, the high Aussie dollar and the reliance on the unreliable live export market (mainly write-downs to property values and lost profits) to be over $50 million.

 

Despite much of the damage to the industry being the result of disastrous Government decisions, the only assistance offered by the Gillard Government has been the Live Exports Assistance Package worth a paltry $30 million in total. This compares very unfavourably to the billions thrown at the car industry, despite the cattle industry being viable without government interference, and the car industry destined to disappear irrespective. (Could the fact that the car industry is heavily unionised explain the double standard?) As stated before, the damage done to the industry was done mainly by the droughts, bushfires, high Australian dollar and producers inability or unwillingness to factor in Indonesia's reduction in quotas for live cattle, which had been dropping drastically since 2009.

 

There have been recent signs Indonesia is reassessing its beef import quotas but it may take years for the live trade to fully recover. While there is a growing short term need for the Government to address the looming animal welfare crisis hitting Northern Australia, nobody really expects this to be a priority for the Gillard administration (while it lasts). As far as Animals Australia is concerned, it most likely will continue to ignore the domestic disaster it lobbied so hard to create. I do hope Animals Australia considers legal action for these blatantly untrue accusations directed at them. Perhaps MLA should be worried, given that they knew about the horrific handling and slaughter practices in Indonesian abattoirs, as per their report in 2009, AND were in a position to do something about it but subsequently failed to act?

Seems Mr O'Reilly just wants to shoot the messenger, not punsih the perpetrators and enablers. Profit at any cost.


 

 

 

 

 

Posted by on in Latest Info

Colin Bettles reports that "EGYPT’S Ambassador to Australia says there may have been a four-year delay between the filming and release of controversial footage seen this week, showing abhorrent treatment of Australian cattle in Egyptian abattoirs."

This industry and its suporters are shameless in their attempts to debunk any negativity coming their way. Surely industry, of all people, should know that no live Australian cattle were sent to Egypt between 2006 and 2010 due to the OBSCEENE CRUELTY uncovered in 2006.

DAFF has already admitted that confirmed that they are "likely to be Australian livestock", therefore not filmed in 2009.

Article here.

AA white brahman Egypt

Image: Animals Australia

Alison Penfold says they are “doing everything they can to put the assurances in place” – they most certainly are doing a lot of assuring of the Australian public that animal welfare is of the utmost importance, and they have voluntarily suspended trade to Egypt, but if THEY are doing everything they can, why is it never the industry – the exporters, the suppliers or DAFF that is exposing the cruelty and abuse – why are there no spot inspections, or monitoring of the facilities? How do they KNOW what standards are being met and how good the animal welfare is, if they’re never there to catch the breaches?

By Alison’s very own admission, they have suspended trade to a country to which we haven’t exported cattle in about 10 months; a country with which the live cattle trade is estimated to be worth $25 million – not a huge sacrifice in the scheme of things, but yes, it does make them sound pro-active, when in fact they are being very REactive.

No one is suggesting the trade be banned overnight – anyone who has a basic knowledge of the industry knows the kind of horrific domestic animal welfare problems and financial impact for producers that would arise with an overnight ban. We are calling for a phase out of live exports over a three to five year period – with assurances that the money, the work, the infrastructure, the labour – everything that is required to process locally is in place before shutting down this trade.

As for supplying a demand “While ever the customer demands live animals for their own protein needs, surely it's Australia - surely Australia should be doing what it can to service those needs.” The “if we don’t do it someone else will” is a lame argument to justify a trade that is intrinsically wrong and inherently cruel. If we don’t make money out of supplying drugs to schoolchildren, someone else will… the analogies are endless. What about saying “if we don’t set an example and say we do not accept this treatment of animals during their slaughter, we are in fact condoning it" – by continuing to supply animals for slaughter to markets that continue to abuse those animals, we are sending a message to the world that Australia condones this treatment.

It’s wrong on so many levels – YES, Australia has the space, capacity and the expertise to grow top quality animals for human consumption – why then would we cram then on a ship for two…three… up to five weeks, and send them off to countries which struggle to meet and often fail to meet even the very low OIE standards that we have mandated for the handling and slaughter of those animals? Why would we ship offshore all the jobs and value adding that is associated with the supply of those animals? Why would producers NOT want to see their animals they claim to care about so much, slaughtered in Australian abattoirs, to Australian standards, in the most humane way possible and where there are at least SOME measures in place to try to minimise their suffering, and see the profits and jobs stay in Australia?

The sheep prices fell in the West and the flock numbers rose because of the loss of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and any other traditional markets for the Dorpas and Damaras that refused to, or did not meet ESCAS requirements – this is why we would say that a chilled only trade supplies the producer with a much more reliable and consistent market – it is not influenced by the red tape of having to meet handling and slaughter standards in importing countries, it is not hampered by the whims, vagaries, egos, political processes or corruption of importing countries

How can a chilled meat trade worth $7 billion possibly not absorb a live trade worth less than $1 billion if the time, effort and money is put into developing viable domestic processing for the animals that are currently exported live? Yes – importing countries can have all the Australian animals they want, but they MUST go on the hook and not on the hoof.

In the end, the fact is, there can realistically be no control over the handling and slaughter of animals once they leave this country - we owe them more than this. How many isolated incidents make up an epidemic?

Katrina Love, Stop Live Exports

alison penfold
Alison Penfold of the Australian Live Exporters Council's interview on ABC's LateLine - interview here.



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"A cruel blow for farmers"

"Frankly, Australia and its farmers can't afford to have this happen."

Regarding the footage of horrific abuse and slaughter practices of Australian cattle in Egypt, these are the kind of comments that are earning the producers no sympathy or support - how about just ONE COMMENT about how unacceptable it is to have animals treated this way ANYWHERE?

Meanwhile, industry says it has voluntarily suspended trade to Egypt in light of this evidence, but how noble or how much of a sacrifice is it to suspend trade to a country we haven't exported any cattle to in 10 months; a country which Australia's cattle exports are worth a paltry $25 million?

Just once, I'd like to see a producer/live export supplier jumping up and down demanding improvements and condemning the industry for allowing this to happen.

Weekly Times article here.

Egypt sokhna AA

That Australia has "abundant and suitable land" for running cattle in the north is debatable; that Indonesia has some of the most fertile soils in the world is inarguable though... what a pity they don't have the best abattoirs and handling & slaughter practices in the world. Is it a match made in heaven? Maybe for the producers and exporters - certainly not for the bovine victims of this trade.



From: The Australian

By: Ross Taylor

May 01, 201312:00AM

AS Australian cattle farmers continue to suffer from the fallout following the inept handling of the live cattle ban placed on Indonesia by federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, the huge opportunity for both Australia and Indonesia to develop a major agriculture partnership goes untapped.

Despite Indonesia's goal of becoming self-sufficient in cattle and meat supplies, the reality that most cattle producers in Australia -- and Indonesia-- know is that it doesn't make sense for Indonesia to go it alone. In fact, the existing supply-chain arrangement between Australia and Indonesia is made in heaven for both countries.

It makes perfect sense for cattle to be bred in the north of Australia, where there is abundant and suitable land, then at about 350kg be exported to Indonesia for fattening and eventual slaughter. Australia's long dry season prohibits this process being undertaken here. Meanwhile, in Indonesia it makes no sense to allocate some of the world's richest and most fertile agricultural land -- which is perfect for growing food -- and allocate it to breeding cattle.

So not only should the live exports between Australia be fully restored (and this will take a lot of hard political work), the model should be used to substantially expand our relationship with Indonesia in the development of food-based opportunities.

As highlighted at the Global Food Forum recently, Australia talks of becoming the food bowl of Asia. Realistically, that is most unlikely. If we could double our present levels of agriculture production in this country we would then supply just about 1 per cent of Asia's requirements to feed its 4.2 billion people.

Australia faces other hurdles in its desire to feed the region as our agricultural industry continues to shrink in size. Obstacles to reversing this trend include:

lLabour costs; in many cases they are too high.

lDiminishing productivity.

lAvailability of labour: the shortage of labour is a major constraint to the development of food-based industries.

lThe distance to markets, particularly from our north, is often too far.

lFear of foreign investment in food-growing land and general agriculture.

lThe impact of climate and poor rainfall.

Agriculture in Indonesia, on the other hand, is almost four times bigger than Australia, employing more than 44 million people who work on about one-quarter of the land mass we use. Indonesia enjoys numerous comparative advantages:

lProximity to markets.

lAbundance of cheap and experienced labour.

lIncredibly fertile soil, among the best in the world.

lRegular and widespread rainfall.

lA large and growing domestic market.

Indo abattoir rpe slaughter AA

Photo: Animals Australia

What Indonesia lacks, however, is technical knowledge and expertise. Australian farmers, through our agriculture and horticulture industries, are among the best in the world. They've had to be good at their trade. Virtually no government subsidies and a harsh and isolated environment have meant that for our agriculture industry to succeed we have to be very good at what we do.

And here lies the opportunity for Australia to diversify away from the sole reliance on resources.

Australia's agriculture sector has world-class expertise in the areas of technology, science, water and farm management, and marketing and branding.

These are the things that Indonesia needs desperately to build capacity within its own agriculture sector. A partnership with Australian industry could see the development of significant exports to third-party countries where the strengths of our two countries come together to build new opportunities and dramatically expand trade.

Already we have seen Australian potato growers change tack from trying to compete with major suppliers from the US and Europe in selling potatoes to Indonesia to building partnerships with Indonesian potato growers.

We provide expertise and the training, in addition to exporting world-class seeds, to allow Indonesia to develop its own industry. Already this approach has seen potato yields in East Java increase from 10 tonnes a hectare to 30 tonnes a hectare. Opportunities also exist in mangoes, sugar, soybean, rice, and many other food-based products.

So why don't we embrace such an opportunity? Sadly, the Australia-Indonesia relationship, despite all the nice words said between our political leaders, is still dominated by "political irritants" and a "Bali holidays" mindset.

Indonesia soon will overtake Australia in economic size. For the first time we will have a regional neighbour that dominates us. It will be a game changer that will allow Australia enormous opportunities to build closer trade, business and community ties.

By developing deeper and mutually beneficial relationships such as a major collaboration and partnerships in agriculture, combined with increased youth exchanges, language and people-to-people contacts, we can enjoy riding on the back of Indonesia's transition to a world-class nation.

Ross Taylor is chairman of the Indonesia Institute.

How do you enforce any welfare standards for beeeding stock in a country with no animal welfare laws, when those animals may realistically have up to ten years of 'use'?

Read article, with Animals Australia and RSPCA commentary here.

dairy-suffering-in-qatar-5

Both heavily pregnant Australian cows and calves died from malnutrition and heat strokein temperatures up to 50 degrees C in Qatar last year. Photo: Animals Australia

Posted by on in Latest Info

By Bill Tatt at The Western Magazine
9 April 2013

Beef exports to the Middle East set a new record for the month of February when sales of 5463 tonnes were achieved by our processors. 

Saudi Arabia and Iran were major contributors to this surge with tallies of 2512 tonnes and 1112 tonnes respectively.

beef exports MLA
To 2012. Graphic: MLA


Brazil was the principal loser in these matters with the Saudis placing a ban on their beef in the latter end of 2012.

This was a dramatic fall for the South American country which, up until they were banned, had racked up 33,396 tonnes for the year.

To highlight how good this month was for our industry the five- year average for February stood at 272 tonnes and February 2012 saw a meagre 313 tonnes go to this particular country.

An aside to this upward trend is the continued necessity for producers to complete their NVDs  correctly and make sure question nine referring to Russian and Saudi Arabia eligibility is, along with the rest of the document, completed correctly.

Lambs, not to be outdone, rose to 9077 tonnes to the end of February for countries designated as the Middle East.

This was a rise of 54 per cent year- on-year and some 200 per cent up on the five- year average.

The United Arab Emirates remained the principal destination receiving 2344 tonnes in the first two months of 2013.

Live sheep exports are expected to be at their lowest in more than 20 years during 2012-2013.

This side of the industry is tipped by analysts to recover in the short to medium term to reach 2.4 million head by 2017-18.

At that point in time ABARE predicts that the Australian sheep flock will, they suggest, stablise at about 80 million head after growing slightly year on year from now to then.

world beef exporters the atlanticdotcom

To 2012. Graphic: The Atlantic

God forbid we offend the Saudis with a silly request for higher animal welfare standards. What does it say about an oil-rich Gulf country like Saudi Arabia when it indicates that it doesn't want to comply with supply chain assurances Australia is demanding before supplying, or that it doesn't want to be forced to comply with the requirements to meet the very low OIE standards which also makes up part of the ESCAS?

Saudi Arabia is already a member country of the OIE so what's the problem? Ego? Eliminating their ability to on-sell live animals if so desired? Or is it that animal welfare just isn't high on their list of priorities and they don't like that being pointed out?

We understand and appreciate that ESCAS is causing welfare issues for animals and hardship for producers, particularly in WA, but that could have been avoided had the government not rolled it though without consideration of the ramifications back here.

The solution is not to scrap ESCAS, the solution is for the government to more actively pursue alternative markets in the interim, whilst pursuing solutions to the reasons why producers currently have little-to-no domestic processing options. ESCAS is currently not protecting all animals exported from Australia, but it IS weeding out markets, which have a particular aversion to controls on the handling, slaughter and on-selling of animals... that's something at least.

Read article here.

Perth now live-sheep-trade

Photo: Perth Now

Yesterday, a small group of animal advocates opposed to live exports stood shoulder to shoulder with a larger group of people who have always been well at odds with us.

Stop Live Exports called for members and supporters to join us in presenting a message to Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Community Cabinet and Public Forum at Thornlie Senior High School, in the form of a well-signed and placarded group in front of the school gates.

There were less than 50 of us and although hard to accurately count, probably over 100 live export supporters.

There was one area for us to gather, and no way that the police were going to expend the energy and effort to separate us, so we mixed… we mingled… we stood in front of each other and competed to get our signs in front, but ultimately, we talked… and we listened.

There was some goading, there were some heated discussions, but for the most part, there was open and honest dialogue, the dispelling of some misconceptions, the exchange of business cards and even the exchange of a few jokes.


thornlie-community-cabinet perthnow
Pro-LE meet Stop LE at Thornlie. Photo: perthnow.com.au


I hope that some of the producers that I and some Stop Live Export members and supporters talked with felt heard and appreciated. We are not and have never been trying to ruin our primary producers – our farmers, pastoralists, graziers, growers… call them what you will – if they don’t exist, we don’t exist – I appreciate that they grow all the food I nourish my body with.

It became more evident to me yesterday than it has ever been, that they are just people trying to make a living doing what they love to do. I spent much of my childhood on my Uncle Ron’s sheep and wheat farm in Grenfell NSW – he was a crusty old bugger, but he had a heart of gold and I hate to think of him being in the situation now that many WA sheep farmers find themselves and wonder, were he still alive and living in WA instead of NSW, what would he do?

We are and always will be, passionately and vehemently opposed to exporting live animals, but there is and always will be in our lifetime, a demand for animal products; what we want to see is, the animals that are raised and slaughtered to provide those products treated as humanely as is humanly possible, and that does not include putting them on ships for three… four… five weeks to countries where we realistically have no control over their handling or slaughter.

Myself and Vanessa Williams, a long-time SLE member and live export opponent were registered for the public forum and Vanessa was able to ask her question of the Prime Minister. View the question and PM Julia Gillard's answer here.

We were very disappointed that the only mention of any animal welfare issues by the PM, were the ones exposed in Animals Australia & Four Corners’s exposé of the treatment of Australian cattle in several randomly selected Indonesian abattoirs. There was no mention of the nine serious animal welfare issues and/or ESCAS/ASEL breaches in Indonesia, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, Israel, Pakistan or the plight of pregnant cows sent for slaughter in Mauritius.

I would urge everyone who feels strongly about the live export of animals, no matter which angle you are coming from, to stick to your guns, research the facts, speak only truth and listen also to the other side – we have a lot more in common than you may think. There has been initial contact between live export supporters and live export opponents, and several suggestions of coming together, joining forces and trying to address the concerns of both “sides” and lobby the government as one – create the best possible outcome for the animals and those who produce them.

We can’t eliminate cruelty, but I’m sure we can minimise it if we fight for what’s right and what’s required, rather than fighting each other.

Katrina Love
Coordinator, Stop Live Exports


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