Inquiry hears Indonesian workers were paid to abuse animals

10 Aug 2011

A Liberal senator told today’s Senate inquiry into the live export industry that animal rights groups had paid Indonesian abattoir workers to abuse cattle to provide the footage that led to a ban on Australian exports.

The Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Committee is investigating animal welfare standards in the live export industry, following footage on ABC's Four Corners program which showed Australian cattle being subjected to brutality in Indonesian abattoirs.

Much of the footage used in the program, which triggered a Government decision to suspend all live exports to Indonesia for a month, was provided by animal rights group Animals Australia.

Liberal Senator from Western Australia, Chris Back, who is also a veterinarian, told today’s inquiry that an Australian source, who is a consultant to the export industry and a person considered “very reliable”, had visited an Indonesian abattoir in the days following filming by Animals Australia.

Senator Back said the source was told that a slaughterman was paid 150,000 Indonesian rupiah by a driver for Animals Australia to abuse Australian cattle in front of video cameras.

“The cameraman and the driver came to him and offered him 150,000 rupiah to kick the animal in the head repeatedly until they got the film they wanted,” Senator Back said.

“He did not want to do this for religious reasons but his family needed money so he did. He kicked it a number of times and then stopped. They asked him to keep going and he did.”

Following the live export controversy Senator Back said work at the abattoir had declined and the other workers had since turned on the slaughterman.

“He’s been beaten on a daily basis and unfortunately in retribution his wife and daughter have been raped and he’s now been ostracised from that community.”

Animals Australia investigator Lyn White  said the suggestion that workers had been paid to inflict acts of deliberate cruelty to animals were “outrageous” and the story related by Senator Back “simply did not occur”..

“I find even the suggestion that that occurred to be very offensive, Senator,” she said.

Outside the hearing Ms White told the media the allegations were political.

“Well I think that there's certain parties that are trying to undermine us but I don't think in any way that they've been successful,” she told ABC radio.

“The evidence speaks for itself; our credibility over a number of years in providing evidence also speaks for itself.”
 

 

 

10 comments

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  • Tania Cummings - 13 Aug 2011
    Well here is one of the several emails I have sent to Senator Back since his disgraceful and baseless accusations. The article to which I refer appeared in the Jakarta Post just two weeks after the Four Corners programme aired: Senator, Here is proof that your disgraceful accusations against Lyn White and Animals Australia are baseless. The kind of torture Lyn White had the intestinal fortitude to experience first-hand and film is “all in a day’s work” according to this Jarkarta newspaper report. Read and be shamed. Tania Cummings. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/06/13/slashing-legs-and-throats-all-a-day’s-work.html QUOTE: Workers in Jakarta’s slaughterhouses say the way they kill cattle is not inhumane and uses only conventional “manual” measures. Muhammad Mudhofir, who previously worked at the Pulogadung slaughterhouse in East Jakarta, told The Jakarta Post recently that he and his co-workers typically crippled animals before they were killed. When we killed an animal manually, first we’d incapacitate it and tie it down by its head and legs,” he said. “We could also do it with the help of restraining boxes and stun guns but, in practice, we found it was easier to do it manually.” Mudhofir, a slaughterhouse worker from 1997 to 2002, said some people might fight the process of incapacitating cattle disturbing or abusive. To cripple cattle, he said, workers had to slash an animal’s legs to make it drop to the ground and then slash its neck to render it unconscious. “The slaughterhouse workers are accustomed to the traditional methods. We were never trained in modern tools such as restraining boxes or stun guns, he said, adding that such training was non-existent at his slaughterhouse. “It is true that workers might kick, punch or do anything that necessary to make the animal fall down.” UNQUOTE This is what Lyn White knew, and what MLA, Livecorp and successive Agriculture ministers have known. That nothing was done about it is why Lyn White collected the evidence and exposed it for the public to see. This has brought the whole sorry issue of Live Exports fair and square in front of the public and initiated an independent review, a Senate enquiry and two bills calling for the trade to end. Some of you may have been "in this business for 20 years" but your eyes and ears have either been closed or your brain has only selectively witnessed their observations. Or perhaps you too believed the hype and spin from MLA, after all their marketing and PR budget was way higher than that for improvements in animal welfare. After all their going to die and be eaten anyway, aren't they? The focus has all been on the Indonesian abattoirs but you've all known about the butchering alive of sheep at roadsides and in backyards in the Middle East for years, not to mention the 2.5 million animals that have died en route in the most appalling of transport conditions over the past thirty years. This industry is worth less than the boxed meat trade and has decimated the abattoir/meatworker industry in Australia. If you have not known about any of this you must have rocks in your heads. You aren't the backbone of this country, you're the shame of it.
  • DWHeath - 11 Aug 2011
    I to am a sincere sceptic on the validity of film from both organisations. Never in 20 years in this business have I witnessed the treatment that the so called 'footage' portrays. Even without some form of payment, a tourist camera pointed at a worker here will generally cause some degree of acting. It was obvious he was 'playing-to-the camera. Another question that should be asked to Foreign Affairs, is on what type of Visa did those people enter Indonesia and conduct Journalistic activities? This can be checked by this office by viewing the passport.
  • Abby Jones - 11 Aug 2011
    Simon, I have a full time job, and no I dont work for AA. What I despise is cruelty, skulduggery and deceit. This was in the paper: The Herald visited the Mabar abattoir in July to investigate the rumours swirling around the Australian livestock industry that there had been payment for mistreatment and that an abattoir worker there had been beaten and his wife raped. The claims could not be verified. Abattoir workers and management denied the story entirely and seemed surprised by the allegations, although they declined to speak on the record. At another slaughterhouse also visited by Animals Australia, in Binjai, two workers confirmed they had been paid 50,000 rupiah each by the Indonesian driver for the animal activists. But the payment was made at the conclusion of the visit to a total of three men so they could buy cigarettes and drinks, and the men said at no time where they instructed to mistreat the animals. What does that tell the public? The whole ball and dice was a set up. Chris Back MUST resign.

 

 

 

Home 24 Apr 2014

Inquiry hears Indonesian workers were paid to abuse animals

10 Aug 2011

A Liberal senator told today’s Senate inquiry into the live export industry that animal rights groups had paid Indonesian abattoir workers to abuse cattle to provide the footage that led to a ban on Australian exports.

The Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Committee is investigating animal welfare standards in the live export industry, following footage on ABC's Four Corners program which showed Australian cattle being subjected to brutality in Indonesian abattoirs.

Much of the footage used in the program, which triggered a Government decision to suspend all live exports to Indonesia for a month, was provided by animal rights group Animals Australia.

Liberal Senator from Western Australia, Chris Back, who is also a veterinarian, told today’s inquiry that an Australian source, who is a consultant to the export industry and a person considered “very reliable”, had visited an Indonesian abattoir in the days following filming by Animals Australia.

Senator Back said the source was told that a slaughterman was paid 150,000 Indonesian rupiah by a driver for Animals Australia to abuse Australian cattle in front of video cameras.

“The cameraman and the driver came to him and offered him 150,000 rupiah to kick the animal in the head repeatedly until they got the film they wanted,” Senator Back said.

“He did not want to do this for religious reasons but his family needed money so he did. He kicked it a number of times and then stopped. They asked him to keep going and he did.”

Following the live export controversy Senator Back said work at the abattoir had declined and the other workers had since turned on the slaughterman.

“He’s been beaten on a daily basis and unfortunately in retribution his wife and daughter have been raped and he’s now been ostracised from that community.”

Animals Australia investigator Lyn White  said the suggestion that workers had been paid to inflict acts of deliberate cruelty to animals were “outrageous” and the story related by Senator Back “simply did not occur”..

“I find even the suggestion that that occurred to be very offensive, Senator,” she said.

Outside the hearing Ms White told the media the allegations were political.

“Well I think that there's certain parties that are trying to undermine us but I don't think in any way that they've been successful,” she told ABC radio.

“The evidence speaks for itself; our credibility over a number of years in providing evidence also speaks for itself.”
 

 

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