Ban live exports: community

CONFRONTING images of tortured cattle and inhumane slaughtering practices has chilled the Northern Rivers community, prompting many to call for a ban on all live cattle exports.

A report by the ABC’s Four Corners program on Monday night sparked widespread outrage and prompted a national response to the controversial live cattle export trade yesterday.

The program included footage from inside abattoirs in Indonesia and captured the sickening methods the foreign slaughtermen were using to kill Australian cattle, including kicking and breaking limbs.

In a region that prides itself on its cattle industry and farming practices, the condemnation of of the Indonesian practices was amplified across the Northern Rivers.

Long-running campaigner against live cattle exports, Federal Member for Page federal and Federal MP for Page Janelle Saffin, yesterday supported the Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig’sÖsuspension on all live exports to the Indonesian facilities featured on Four Corners.

“There are a whole lot of things that just don’t work and it was an industry that should not have started,” she said.

“I have put forward a notice of motion for a cessation of live exports. My reaction (to the footage) was I felt sick and sad and I just thought we can’t abide by this.”

“We have a standard we have developed over years and that is the way we want our animals treated.”

Ms Saffin said LiveCorp, the cattle company featured captured on the program, had years to implement training practices in the Indonesian disgraced abattoirs and she did not have faith in them.

In his announcement, Mr inister Ludwig did not specify what or how many abattoirs in Indonesia would attract the suspension.

Northern Co-operative Meat Co general manager Gary Burridge found the footage “horrific and disgusting”.

But he believed live exports should be suspended only until humane and adequate abattoir methods were adopted in the foreign facilities.

“Live exports do have a place in the Northern Territory and play a part in Australia, but not at the expense of animal welfare,” he said.

“What we have to do is ensure that the appropriate standards are in place.”

The livestock export industry announced it was suspending trade to three of the abattoirs featured in the Four Corners investigation, a move the Australian Meatworkers Union federal president Grant Courtney believed was “not good enough”.

“It was the typical Meat and Livestock Australia line,” he said.

“The CEO is the one carrying the responsibility and the way he was defending the exports, he should resign.

“The general aim of the meatworks policy is we want a gradual phase out of live exports by 2015.

“In my view it was Neanderthal. There needs to be a ban on cattle being shipped to Indonesia for the interim.”

Mr Courtney said Australia was capable of slaughtering cattle and exporting the meat chilled.

“Why does the taxpayer continue to fund this barbaric practice?” he said.

The Four Corners program was enough to keep Angela Pollard up all night.

“I was howling,” the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre Animal Law and Education Project spokeswoman said.

“How a human being could do that to a defenceless animal is beyond anything I could ever imagine. We want an immediate moratorium and no more cattle to Indonesia.”

“People need to think about the responsibility we have when we care for an animal.

Ms Pollard said offshore slaughtering of Australian stock created job losses within the domestic agricultural industry.

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