Live Export

Dept considering calls for real-time monitoring of CCTV in foreign abattoirs

Beef Central, 19/08/2020

THE Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment says it is considering calls by animal rights groups to introduce real-time Departmental monitoring of CCTV in foreign abattoirs processing Australian livestock, following the latest alleged breaches of Australian live export regulations in Jordan and Indonesia.

An image from an Animals Australia video showing cattle being slaughtered using a Mark I box in Indonesia. The footage is being investigated by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

The RSPCA has written to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud regarding the complaints that include allegations Australian sheep were found in at least 10 locations outside of approved supply chains in Jordan, and Australian cattle were subjected to brutal roping slaughter, including the use of the prohibited Mark 1 box, in Indonesia.

The RSPCA says it is seeking “urgent measures” in response to the recent allegations including:

  • CCTV monitoring in ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) supply chains with real-time Departmental access;
  • individual electronic identification for exported sheep to facilitate traceability, and
  • an immediate review of the Department’s Guideline for the Management of Non-compliance to ensure that more effective penalties are imposed on repeat offenders.

In response a Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment spokesperson told Beef Central the Department is aware of the RSPCA’s recommendations and “will consider them, including CCTV in abattoirs”.

The Department said the use of unique individual animal identification for the traceability of exported sheep and goats was considered when ESCAS was being developed in 2011.

“At that time, there was no national system in Australia that uniquely identified individual sheep and goats in Australia – a situation that remains today.

“Should individual identification of sheep and goats become mandatory in all states and territories of Australia then we will be in a position to require it in exported sheep and goats.”

On the back of the RSPCA’s call earlier this week for CCTV in export abattoirs to be monitored by the Department of Agriculture, Animals Australia yesterday released footage to media of cattle being slaughtered in Mark I boxes in two Indonesian abattoirs, which formed the basis of a complaint lodged with the Department last week.

An Animals Australia spokesperson said the group had decided to release the footage publicly upon discovering that the two facilities the footage in Indonesia were ESCAS approved and were audited by the industry.

A spokesperson said a major flaw in ESCAS is that approved facilities can kill non-Australian animals in unacceptable ways, such as via the Mark 1 box in Indonesia or via sledgehammering in Vietnam, while requiring Australian animals to be killed in another method in the same facility.

It was unrealistic to expect this would be adhered to on a nightly basis and was a key reason why real-time CCTV accessible to the regulator was required, the spokesperson said.


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  1. Colin Luckins, 20/08/2020

    Who are we to demand security cameras to be installed in a facility in another country. These people purchase cattle from australia and have full right to handle them as they see fit. We would not stand for another country to tell us how we do something let alone accept another country watch us do it by remote. I think it’s time we just accept other countries have a different priorities and culture and that should be respected. And it’s high time these animal rights groups use their millions of dollars in donations and go and to these countries and help educate to improve the conditions of the animals they care so much about. Maybe they’ll get some perspective about these countries and then they may just leave the industry alone.

  2. Mick Konig, 19/08/2020

    Very simple stop all live export. Before Gina Reinhard starts exporting to China.

  3. Danny Gleeson, 19/08/2020

    It should not matter were the cattle come from regardless of country of origin, humane slaughter is just that. Some of these countries put little value on human life and then we suggest cameras! Authorised trainers and humane stunners would be more appropriate. Australia needs this trade and exporters are investing a Lot of money already. Without Australia being involved in this trade I believe it would be truly barbaric.

  4. Peter Hamilton, 19/08/2020

    Until the exporter’s license is suspended for a minimum 6 months, they will continue to pay lip-service to ESCAS.
    No need to burden with more regs, just make the ones existing bloody well work.

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