Live Export

Livex suspension could last for six months

Beef Central, 08/06/2011

The Federal Government’s suspension of Australia’s live cattle trade to Indonesia could last for six months, minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig announced this morning.

In a statement to media in Brisbane this morning Mr Ludwig said the suspension would remain in force until new safeguards were established for the trade. 

“This suspension will be in place until the Government establishes sufficient safeguards to ensure there is verifiable and transparent supply chain assurance up to and including the point of slaughter for every consignment that leaves Australia.

“A sustainable live cattle export industry must be built on the ability to safeguard the welfare of the animals.

“The trade to Indonesia will only recommence when we are certain industry is able to comply with that supply chain assurance.”

Mr Ludwig said the decision to suspend the trade was made following serious consideration of the advice and evidence that has been presented to the Government since last Monday.

“As I previously announced, an independent reviewer will be appointed to undertake a complete supply chain review of the live export trade for all markets,” Minister Ludwig said.

The independent reviewer will now also inform both the design and application of the new safeguards.

The Australian and Indonesian governments had agreed to work closely together to bring about improvements in abattoir practices, he said. 

“After meetings held in Jakarta yesterday, both governments have agreed that Australia and Indonesia will implement an immediate and a longer-term plan.

“Experts from both countries will work together to identify abattoirs that adhere to good practices that could form part of an approved supply chain, and to identify those that still need to be improved.

“As partners, both countries respect each other's way of working."

In a joint media statement the leader of the Nationals Warren Truss and shadow agriculture minister John Cobb said the ban sent the wrong message because it penalised facilities that had already invested in best practice reforms.

“The best message the government could send to processers in Indonesia is that we will only do business with those who meet our expectations on animal care and treatment, sending cattle exclusively to compliant abattoirs,” the Nationals MPs’ statement said.

“That would have been entirely justifiable and encouraged attitudinal and behavioural change.”

The announcement would cause an immediate drop in the cattle market across Australia and devalue existing meat in stores.

“There is now no market for many of northern Australia’s cattle.”

Following the minister’s press conference in Brisbane this morning, the opposition MPs said it was clear the Minister had no contingencies for the Australian cattle industry which was now stranded in limbo.

“It is unthinkable that the government has made its announcement today devoid of any remedies for the cattle and export sectors, especially considering the Indonesian live cattle market represents 47pc ($320 million) of our total live cattle trade.”

 

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