CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian meat industry is reaching a crisis point, according to Australian Senator John Williams. Williams, while meeting key industry players in Canberra last week, said the meat processing industry was reaching crisis point, with more than 150,000 jobs at risk, compared with about 50,000 in the country’s struggling car industry, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sen. Williams said he was not calling for a government bailout similar to the car industry, but  he wanted a prompt and full inquiry. He said abattoirs [slaughterhouses] should be exempt from a carbon tax, with some plants estimating they will have to pay between AUS$1.7 million and $4 million a year when the tax is introduced. A diesel fuel tax scheduled to start July 2014 will put the industry under further stress.

An industry analysis shows from 1980 to 1996 more than one-third of the country's 475 slaughterhouses closed. An average of 100 butcher shops in Sydney close each year, with retailers Woolworths and Coles controlling 50 percent of the market.