Australia has suspended exports of live cattle to a number of killing facilities in Indonesia following exposure of brutal practices in some of the country’s abattoirs.
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said the decision was based on footage collected by Animals Australia that showed cattle being mistreated before slaughter.
“I have decided to halt the trade of live animals to the facilities identified by the footage,” he said in a statement today.
He said he had asked Australian officials to prepare orders that would enforce the complete suspension of live animal exports to the facilities identified by Animals Australia.
“These orders will strengthen the decision I took yesterday to conduct a full investigation into the footage provided,” Senator Ludwig said.
The government also has appointed an independent reviewer to investigate the complete supply chain for live exports up to and including the point of slaughter.
Senator Ludwig said he reserved the right to add further Indonesian abattoirs to the banned list, if required.
ABC’s Four Corners program showed animals dying prolonged deaths and being beaten and gouged.
About 80 per cent of Australia’s live cattle exports go to Indonesia, with the broader live animal industry worth about $2 billion a year and employing 13,000 Australians.
The Australian Greens and independent MPs have called on the government to ban immediately all live exports to Indonesia.
The Coalition has offered bipartisan support for a review of the live cattle export industry, but stopped short of advocating a complete ban.
Mr Ludwig earlier said he was shocked by the footage.
“The practices depicted in the footage are unacceptable to the Australian community, that’s clear,’’ he told ABC Radio today.
The minister said he had asked his department to provide him with options that would allow him to ban exports to sub-standard facilities in Indonesia.
“The government takes animal welfare issues seriously”, Senator Ludwig said, adding that Australian officials were responding in “a considered manner”.
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