Meat and Livestock Australia says work to facilitate resumption of live exports to Indonesia is well advanced.
In a briefing distributed to live export industry stakeholders on Monday, MLA live export manager Michael Finucan outlined steps the industry body has taken to bring animal welfare practices up to required standards in Indonesian abattoirs.
Industry animal welfare experts had visited 40 Indonesian abattoirs in the past six weeks and had helped to install infrastructure upgrades in 12, Mr Finucan said.
More than 80 Indonesian abattoir staff had received training from Australian Animal Welfare Officers in animal handling and abattoir operations and procedures.
“Since 30 May 2011 a team of 16 has been working on a rotation basis within the Indonesian abattoir system providing animal handling support at abattoirs to implement the appropriate welfare standards,” Mr Finucan said.
Changes were also being made to the National Livestock Identification System database, including creating web interfaces in the Bahasa language, to satisfy the Australian Government’s requirement for full traceability on all Australian cattle sent into Indonesia.
Assistance has included work with importers to explain how the OIE guidelines and the Australian Government’s ‘animal welfare checklist’ will apply to the future handling of cattle in the market.
Mr Fincuan said the new export control order and regulations issued by the Federal Government had provided a clear direction for delivering the animal welfare improvements required.
“On 7 July 2011 we received a list of establishments from the Indonesian industry where we will focus our work, and during this coming week we will liaise with the Indonesian Government to ensure it is comfortable with this focused program.”
The Indonesian Government has also announced that it will conduct its own audit of Indonesia abattoirs as part of a crackdown on the mistreatment of animals.
Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture director general Prabowo Respatiyo Caturroso told the Indonesian media this week the Indonesian Government will audit up to 36 abattoirs.
Indonesian Meat Producers and Feedlot Association (Apfindo) executive director Jono Liano said the audit results would be used to punish importers that did not meet appropriate animal welfare standards.
“Their licenses might be revoked by the Government,” Mr Liano told the Jakarta Globe. “It will hurt the importer.”
Meanwhile Agriculture minister Joe Ludwig is coming under further fire over his handling of the live export crisis.
The Australian reports today that Mr Ludwig was warned in his first departmental briefing as agriculture minister of the need to deal with animal welfare issues in the live export industry.
“If livestock industries cannot manage animal welfare concerns effectively, the issue is likely to threaten their standing in the wider Australian community and use of their products,” the briefing said.
“If not appropriately handled, animal welfare concerns could threaten the long-term viability of several livestock industries.
“Even though the industries operate within their legislated requirements, there is a real risk they could lose public acceptance.”
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