Live Export

Legal action push as livex fallout widens

James Nason, 12/06/2011

Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp could face legal action from concerned producers and the scrutinty of a Senate inquiry as the fallout from the ABC Four Corners exposé of Indonesian slaughtering practices widens.

According to media reports over the weekend:

  • Lawyers for a group of cattle producers led by Sydney solicitor and lobbyist Norman Hunt, who has been a vocal critic of existing livestock industry levy-structures in recent years, are preparing a class action to say that the directors of MLA and LiveCorp may have breached their fiduciary duty to levy-payers by not disclosing information about slaughter conditions in Indonesia. The case would have to prove the MLA directors had prior knowledge of Indonesian slaughter conditions, and producers would have to prove they would not have exported their cattle to Indonesia had they known about the conditions. (The Sydney Morning Herald) 
  • The Greens will seek the support of Labor and Coalition senators to conduct an inquiry into the role played by MLA in the treatment of cattle in Indonesia, and its use of  levy funds (The Herald Sun)
  • Agriculture minister Joe Ludwig is expected to announce today that former Indonesian ambassador Bill Farmer will conduct the government-ordered independent review of Australia's livestock trade. He will investigate whether current regulatory arrangements are effective, and the preparation and handling of cattle sent overseas. (The Australian)

Meanwhile, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered an investigation of Indonesia's abattoirs.

“Animal welfare is important for us to behold,” he said in a report from the Jakarta Globe.

“So related ministers and governors should go to abattoirs to ensure they fulfil religious norms, health aspects and welfare.”

Dr Yudhoyono said the Australian Government’s suspension of all cattle exports to Indonesia would make beef prices for Indonesian citizens more expensive.

“(The ban) could raise the price of beef at a time when we need to stabilise the price heading into the Holy Month of Ramadan and Idul Fitri.”

The president appealed to businessmen to cooperate with the goal of keeping beef prices affordable in the approach to Ramadan and not to be “too profit-oriented”.

Cattle breeders in West Java said that since the ban, the price of each local head of cattle had risen from Rp 4 million to Rp 5 million ($470 to $590).


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