Three Indonesian abattoirs charged with cruelty

by Bryan Salvage
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NORTH SYDNEY, Australia – Steps are being taken by the Australian livestock export industry to suspend supply of cattle to three unnamed Indonesian abattoirs after video evidence depicted animal cruelty. Footage provided to the Australian beef industry on May 24 led to the industry immediately requesting the Indonesian industry to suspend the supply of Australian cattle to these facilities, said LiveCorp CEO Cameron Hall.

"Cruelty to Australian animals is simply unacceptable. We will not tolerate it," Hall said. "This graphic and distressing footage has upset and frustrated the industry, particularly given our major efforts to improve animal welfare in Indonesia."

Indonesia’s beef industry had rallied quickly to sanction those butchers and locations acting in a cruel and inhumane manner, Hall said. The industry is committed to suspend the cattle supply to those facilities until animal-welfare issues are addressed and it can be demonstrated acceptable standards can be consistently met.

Footage also featured a fourth processing facility where poor practices were evident. But Australia’s industry has not requested to suspend their supply of cattle because it feels it can address these practices with an intensive training program. "A team of Australian cattle experts will fly to Indonesia this weekend to deliver this training to priority facilities, including this facility," Hall said.

Australia’s beef industry recently released an animal welfare strategy containing a specific action plan for Indonesia, following an independent review of Indonesian facilities conducted last year.

"The tangible actions coming out of this Indonesian plan are essential to bolstering our existing animal-welfare efforts and eradicating cruel practices,” he added. "Our Indonesian action plan will intensify and accelerate our efforts to further improve animal welfare standards. We are devoting extra staff and resources to initiatives, including intensive training programs run by Australian cattle handling experts and upgrading facilities."

Industry was committed to improving welfare at every facility that processed Australian cattle, Hall said. "Our animal-welfare strategy is focused on ensuring our cattle are only supplied to facilities where supply chains meet or exceed global animal-welfare standards,” he added. "While we face many challenges in improving animal welfare in a developing country, including access to electricity and inadequate infrastructure, we've made major progress during the past decade. Every day we have a team of specialists working on the ground upgrading facilities, training local workers and proactively educating people on animal welfare."

More work needs to be done, particularly at processing plants, Hall said.
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