129 000 cattle exported to Indonesia since ban was lifted

The Federal Government is being urged by the Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association (NTCA) to use overseas development funding to improve Indonesian abattoirs.

The NTCA wants the government to help Indonesian abattoirs to get accreditation, and avoid potential slaughter capacity deficit in the market, Beef Central reports.

Following the insight into the shockingly inhumane treatment of animals in Indonesia earlier this year, live export was banned to the country.

Now Australian cattle exported to Indonesia must be slaughtered through accredited supply chains which have been put in place to improve the welfare of animals.

The ban was lifted in July, with many raising doubts about whether the new supply chains put in place would be correctly adhered to.

Last month the Western Australian livestock industry met with the RSPCA to discuss making the welfare of animals a key focus.

The groups are working to find some “common ground” between the industry and the welfare of animals, following the controversial live export revelations earlier this year that led to Prime Minister Julia Gillard banning live exports from Indonesia.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) confirmed to Beef Central today that since the ban was lifted, 128 312 cattle have been exported to Indonesia.

But, DAFF revealed it has received Notices of Intention to Export from exporters for the remainder of the season for more than 154 000 cattle.

DAFF said potential export volume considerations were the responsibility of exporters.

“The management of animals, including volumes, throughout approved exporter supply chains is the responsibility of the Australian exporter,” the department’s response said.

“Any exporter who fails to meet welfare standards puts at risk their entire business.

“Any producer who is concerned about the capacity of export supply chains should talk to the exporter about what capacity they have to process animals.”

NTCA executive director Luke Bowen said slaughter capacity in Indonesia as a “critical issue” for the association, and there is information available suggesting the progressive introduction of abattoirs into accredited supply chains.

But he still believes more needs to be done, suggesting that the foreign development funding should now be used to improve supply in time to handle rising export volumes.

“There is an opportunity for greater buy in from the Australian government through overseas development funding,” Bowen told Beef Central.

“Australia already puts a great deal of positive development assistance into Indonesia for breeding and agricultural production projects and this could be expanded to assist in the area of food processing and technology.”

Image: Department of Primary Industries

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