Last night I watched ABC 1’s ‘Four Corners’ on the treatment of Australian supplied live animals in abattoirs in Indonesia. The visuals were disgusting, the treatment of the animals inhumane, brutal and revolting. It’s surprising that the product of this pitiless slaughter produces any reasonable quality meat whatsoever.
But what I found more disturbing was the apparent indifference of the suppliers and Meat and Livestock, Australia. Lots of lip service to having made progress, and the fact that the producers and supply chains treat the animals appropriately. But no tangible progress
in over 10 years of dealing with Indonesia in improving the slaughter conditions for the animals and the consumer. The ‘tie ‘em up and tip ‘em over’ pens were a sick joke. The best that could be offered was that : ‘we’re trying’. It left the uncomfortable feeling that once the $$$’s were in the hand, maximised by the feed-lot care of the animals – ‘Well, who gives a shit what happens when we are no longer responsible for welfare’.
The response on the radio from Minister Ludwig this morning when he consistently refused to directly answer the question which sought to find out if he had prior knowledge of the matter, left the listener with a clear message: ‘Yes I did, but I’m not going to admit it.’ The Minister’s behaviour doesn’t give any cause for confidence in this matter being properly dealt with.
In the circumstances the current Labor government with the full support of the Coalition opposition (dispense with your negativity for a change) should ban the provision of Australian cattle to any Indonesian abattoir which does not have (and use) a stun gun all the time. As our livestock appears to be popular and in demand I suspect that the message to change their abominal ways will get about pretty quickly. Additionally a full and open enquiry should be held into the whole trade, preferably undertaken by people independent of the meat and livestock industry. The treatment of all live animals provided to other overseas abattoirs (eg. Malaysia) should be part of that review.
Based on what was presented in the Four Corners report if we can’t ensure that a recipient country is slaughtering the animals humanely and with minimum stress then trade in live animals should cease with that country and only Australian slaughtered animals be offered. And let’s not doodle about this time. If we can’t initiate humane slaughtering
systems within 6 months then all livestock trade should cease with the respective country.