Meat and Livestock Australia says the suspension of the live cattle trade to Indonesia will impact cattle producers in northern Australia, but it will help to ensure a long-term solution in the form of a controlled system can be effectively established in the market.
MLA and Livecorp released the following statement this morning in response to the Gillard Government’s decision to suspend imports to Indonesia:
“The Australian livestock industry understands the reasons behind the Australian Government’s decision to temporarily suspend the live cattle trade to Indonesia until a controlled system that will assure the welfare of Australian cattle exported to Indonesia has been implemented.
“The controlled system is part of a solution package developed by the Australian industry and presented to Government that can achieve this.
“Under the system proposed, the industry commits to the reduction of trade to a core group of facilities in Indonesia independently accredited to meet OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) animal welfare standards. A stringent supply chain, the rapid introduction of stunning, and an ongoing review and monitoring program will ensure Australian cattle are processed only through these facilities.
“MLA Chairman Don Heatley said the suspension of the trade will most certainly have an impact on cattle producers and communities in the north and this needs to be acknowledged.
“However industry is confident it can work with the Australian and Indonesian Governments to deliver the solution,” he said.
“This decision gives industry sufficient time to implement the controlled system – which will ensure the appropriate treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia.”
“This industry solution includes:
• Australia only supplying cattle to Indonesian processing facilities independently assessed and accredited against OIE animal welfare standards
• Animal welfare officers to be permanently stationed at accredited processing facilities to ensure processing consistently meets these standards
• Industry to rapidly increase the use of stunning – which exceeds OIE standards – in as many of these facilities as possible.
"We are pleased that the Government has indicated that it will work with the Indonesian Government, and the Australian and Indonesian industries to implement a solution,” said Mr Heatley.
“The welfare of our animals is paramount. Our message is: no accreditation, no cattle.
“LiveCorp CEO Cameron Hall said that MLA and Livecorp are reviewing industry programs in all markets to ensure our animals are being treated humanely and with respect during management and processing.
“These solutions will take time but the Australian industry is committed to ensuring Australian producers have confidence their livestock are well treated and retain access to key markets,” he said