Live Export

Thousands sign online petition to ban live trade

James Nason, 02/06/2011

Online political activist group GetUp! will deliver a petition to Prime Minister Julia Gillard at 3pm today calling for the immediate ban of live exports to Indonesia.

The group started the online petition following the airing of graphic footage of Australian cattle being killed in Indonesian abattoirs on Monday night and as of 7am this morning had registered more than 149,000 names.

The petition calls for an immediate halt on live exports of Australian cattle to Indonesia and for a move towards the end of live exports of Australian animals within three years.

GetUp! is described on its website as an independent, grassroots, not-for-profit  advocacy organisation, funded by its member donations,  created with the purpose of holding politicians to account.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Independent senator Nick Xenophon have announced they will introduce bills to both houses of Federal Parliament on June 20 attempting to ban live exports.

An Indonesian Government spokesperson yesterday told the AFP news agency that officials would be sent to investigate evidence of animal mistreatment shown in Monday night's ABC Four Corners program, and those proven to have committed animal cruelty would be punished.

Howeve, Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry livestock department chief Prabowo Respatiyo Caturroso also acknowledged that Indonesia does not yet have legislation in place to enforce animal welfare standards.

“We have a 2009 draft law covering animal welfare, but it hasn’t been implemented yet,” he told AFP.

“We’re still forming the sanctions. We’ll speed up the process or implementation.”

The Indonesian Meat Importers Association (Aspidi) told the Jakarta Post yesterday that it had urged the Indonesian Government to improve surveillance at slaughterhouses in response to Australia’s ban on exports to 11 abattoirs.

“This is due to surveillance,” Aspidi executive director Thomas Sembiring told the Jakarta Post.
“The staffers in the slaughter houses are not complying with the procedures when slaughtering the animals.”

In the same article the Indonesian Meat Producers and Feedlot Association (Apfindo) expressed anger at Australia’s reaction, saying it had made inappropriate generalisations in accusing local slaughterhouses of mistreating imported animals.

Apfindo executive director Joni Liano told the newspaper that 90pc of the 112 slaughterhouses that were used by its member companies used restraining boxes.

Deputy Agriculture minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said in the article that slaughterhouse methods were “still in line with our social and cultural values”.



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