June 10th, 2011
06:48 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The Australian government's decision to temporarily ban live cattle exports to Indonesia has dealt a crushing blow to the beef industry, with some fearing the move could permanently damage relations with this vital market.

The ban follows the airing of gruesome footage on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's “Four Corners” program last week showing the brutal treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia abattoirs. The video shows cattle being kicked, hit, their eyes gouged and tails broken by Indonesian abattoirs, prompting a national outcry and swift government action.

Live cattle exports will only be resumed once those safeguards are put in place, said Senator Joe Ludwig, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

"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,” said Ludwig, who announced the ban on Wednesday.

The Indonesian government admits conditions in slaughterhouses must be improved but says they will now source beef from other countries such as New Zealand and Brazil.

But industry officials say the six-month ban could cripple Australian cattle farmers.

Each year about 520,000 head of cattle are sent to Indonesia, a market that makes up 60% of Australia's live beef exports. The trade brings Australian ranchers nearly $350 million a year.

Cattle farmers are calling for compensation for the loss of revenue but even if that is granted, President of the Northern Territory Cattleman's Association Rohan Sullivan said, "The impact on this industry is going to be severe and it's going to affect some producers and families particularly hard.”

Minister Ludwig dismisses fears by some cattle farmers that the temporary ban could permanently edge Australia out of the lucrative Indonesian market. "I'm confident that we'll be able to return to this market. I'm confident that I'll be able to work with industry and the Indonesian Government to put in place animal welfare outcomes that are appropriate."

There is now a push underway to widen the live export ban to countries such as Malaysia, Libya and Brunei which, according to animal welfare groups, have similarly brutal butchery practices as used in Indonesia.

The Australian Government says it's investigating.

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. ilan

    In South Australia I was born
    Heave away. Haul away!
    South Australia round Cape Horn
    And we're bound for South Australia

    Haul away you rolling king
    Heave away! Haul away!
    All the way you'll hear me sing
    And we're bound for South Australia

    June 10, 2011 at 7:19 am |
  2. Christina O.

    Finally! Someone with balls enough to take care of the animals. If farmers, traders and butchers can't see the importance of treating the animals decent, they're not worthy of handling animals at all. They should take pride in their work and not allow mistreatment to make a profit! Shame on the industry and hats of for those who took the decision!!!

    June 10, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  3. Sean

    Those poor animals do not deserve to be treated like that, I hate whaling because there is no humane way of killing one and obviously there is no humane way of killing a cow.

    I will never eat red meat again.

    June 10, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  4. Yanuar

    My pragmatic advice is go sell somewhere else. As an Indonesian, I'm very certain that the animal treatment brutality will not stop any time soon. As long as the Indonesians still live in poverty they will not care much about other living beings. It's also useless to pressure the government to do anything that will not put any money into their own pockets. Thus, the Australian beef industry will be better off looking for a new, more civilized, market.

    June 10, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  5. Mick McGrath

    This decision by the federal Government proves their incompetence and repeated failures to provide effect leadership. The only result this decision will have is to hurt the Australian Farmers and industries that rely on the export of cattle. Indonesia will simply buy their cattle from another country and continue with the same practices.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  6. helpless onlooker

    The 'holy' Islamic way of slaughtering the poor beast, be it a cattle, a lamb, a camel is all the same. The poor animal is proded and kicked till the beasts face Mecca, then the front legs already tied up will be pulled by the rope till the animal callapsed into something like a kneeling position towards Mecca, then a Haji slaughterman will take a 'holy knife' and slit the poor terrified animal's throut, at the same time muttering 'prayers' to the animals soul, the animal bleeds to death slowly into a blood drenched floor. This is the 'halal' way. The consumers will only eat meat slaughtered in this way. Same practice in all muslim countries Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai etc. Thats why they want live animals. And you people only find out now? I wonder how the Jewish people slaughter the 'Kosher' way compared to the 'halal' way?

    June 10, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  7. Indonesian

    What's so special about Australian beef? I'd prefer Japanese wagyu beef and US beef. Aussie can eat their own beef.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  8. André

    This is STUPID. It's the people EATING the dead animals that feed the abuse. If you raise animals to convert plants into animal so that you can eat second hand nutrients, you have to kill living organisms just before they mature. NO meat eater has the right to criticize ANY form of producing their preferred consumer product... corpse.

    June 10, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  9. Guest

    That's typical Indonesian behavior. They were probably singing patriotic tunes while kicking and poking those poor animals. Indonesians also treat dogs like this. They'll poison your dogs behind your back whenever they are given a chance. Australia should just cut ties with this country.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  10. Seidl Joschi

    I am a Australian and i am vey upset here , as well 98 % of people in Australia are in full Picture anyway –so no news to them
    just in the open now by the ABC
    about time -
    stop this as let them change ther whole system -if not close the File on Live shipments
    we are People –this is a disgrace –and this happen on a daily basis over there
    with the Oz Govement closing ther Eyes for to long
    TOP ADVERTISING for AUSTRALIA !!!!!!! i must say
    nice Beaches as TOP Tourist Destination

    June 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  11. MickCanberra

    No more beef rendang with Aussie cattle in Indonesia. Hopefully this will downwards pressure on beef sold on the Aussie domestic market. The Australian beef industry needs to evolve to put more money into frozen meat sales.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  12. derek

    What a joke, they are being sent there to be slaughtered. Cows taste good!!! And for all of you bleeding hearts, if cows could eat you they would!!!!!

    June 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  13. Bernadette

    The Four Corners footage was just horrific and shocked the Australian public into action. There was a massive response to get this trade stopped. Hopefully all live trade of animals will be stopped in the future. The Indonesian government will have to take chilled beef from New Zealand as they stopped the live trade of animals a few years ago due to the mistreatment of their livestock. Any meat from the animals killed in the footage on the Four Corners program would not be halal because of the disgusting way they were killed.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  14. jack

    I'm a vegetarian. Anyone who eats the carcass of dead animals has no right to talk about "animal rights". There is no such thing as humanely killing an animal...oh the hypocrisy is astounding...

    June 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  15. Animal Lover

    Australians are such hypocrites. If you really care about animals, then stop breeding them and enslaving them for profit. Such greedy hypocrites.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  16. Jmac

    @ilan.What are you smok'in Willis!!

    June 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  17. Gee

    @Yanuar – what should be said is that as long as Indonesians do not care much about other living beings they will live in poverty.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  18. willy car

    sell to indian hindu priests who are strict vegetarians. they worship them and will take very good care of them

    June 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  19. jim

    The cattle industry sounds as bad as the US or maybe even as bad as the chicken industry. Shame on you meat eaters.

    June 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  20. Sree

    These are the guys who glorified Bin Laden and Held a mass prayer – just human hardwares, the software inside is coded to wipe off the humanity. So, dont expect much, the slaughterhouses are technically, obvious practice grounds for these cannibals.

    June 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  21. Bernadette

    @Animal Lover Farmers breed animals. There are Australians working to get the live trade suspended. The woman who took the shocking footage that was shown on Four Corners is Lyn White an Australian animal rights advocate. There would be many people in Australia who would wish there was no livestock industry. If animals are going to be killed for human consumption the very least is that they should die as painlessly and stress free as possible. It would be best if no animals were bred to die in a slaughter house. At least people should become aware that an animal has to be killed for that steak or piece of bacon on their plate and maybe eat meat more sparingly.

    June 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  22. Victorianism

    The way they treat live beings is really heinous to those of us living not with their religion, but it is nevertheless right as their belief allows and even pursues. But for us nonbelievers and other-things-believers, something should and must be done to this unspeakable devilish crime, a crime, many will say, not only against animals, but also against our human beings' own humanity and the Mother Nature. I doubt whether we can change their such behavior since they would think of such a demand as being (somehow) related to (demanding) a change of religion. (it's sad) Sincerely, we absolutely don't ask for that, or think in that way-we simply are asking for a way of killing animals differently, humanely. There are, undoubtedly, persons there who would argue that they are just killing animals differently, but virturally the same thing as other do. Please. please. we are not arguing with you Muslims (I alwalys think good of you as I think of others.) who is right or what is right. We are just talking something from the eye of animals: It's a cruel thing to kill us for meat or anything else. And it's a real crime of true evil to kill us in such a way. No beliefs could justify this. Please stop doing that.

    June 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  23. Mmichaud

    People are disgusting. We consume everything and respect nothing.

    June 10, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  24. MarkMontreal

    Why would anyone torture another living creature before its death is beyond me. These animals are dying to give us life. Doesn't that deserve some respect? I hope that someday we too become hunted and are treated with such disdain as we are treat the animals.

    June 10, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  25. Mike

    About bloody time ! For too long there have been people (Especially Kiwi's and Aussies) moaning and whining on about Japans whale hunting and dolphin culling while the ignore the cruelty – live animal exports – that start in their own countries.
    Hypocrisy at its best.

    June 11, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  26. Rajaram Venkataramani

    Why talk about Indonesia? There is a lot of illiteracy and poverty. They believe in medieval non-sense of Halal. What about the USA, Australia, UK, Germany and France.? Do they have the guts to ban Halal? It is a first step towards all kinds of animal cruelty.

    France has so much anti-islam sentiment that it considers it important to ban veil but not halal. That is the kind of concern they have for animals.

    June 11, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  27. Santosh Singh

    I love those hypocratic statement of proper treatment to animal before killing. Hello what treatment those animal experience before actual slaughtering. Want to feel it then take a sharp knife and slash 1/2 inch one of your finger and then let it bleed. Since we can capture an animal and keep them in captive due to our superiority we think that we can murder them. Feel shame. If that's the case I justify human slavery and superior should also be allowed. Why not give birth to babies and slaughter them properly to yield good quality meat since we love tender calf which are babies of cow. Or may be try out foetus instead of eggs?

    Sounds gory? Forcibly murdering someone has same gory feeling. It is just when we can start realizing it.

    June 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  28. Claes

    @Helpless onlooker: Do you know or even care that your description of halal slaughter has nothing to do with reality? Especially since halal is quite inhumane as it is, I can't see any reason besides good ole stupidity to make up a story that even the most anti-muslim realizes is bs.

    June 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  29. karbvi

    derek....you are a complete baffoon, cows are vegetarian you idiot, they would not eat you if they could.

    Well done aussies, all countries need to stop selling meet to all countries that kill livestock inhumanely.

    June 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  30. Just a guy on his laptop

    This is making me hungry. Seriously. BBQ time!!!

    June 12, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  31. cynik, switzerland

    "I'm a vegetarian. Anyone who eats the carcass of dead animals has no right to talk about "animal rights". There is no such thing as humanely killing an animal."

    Jack is a human being, and therefore an omnivore, with delusions of being something he is not. He is also an idiot, and probably about 12 years old.

    There is no such thing as killing an animal humanely?

    Just how freaking stupid AND ignorant do you have to be to make this comment? Even if you are 12 years old!

    It is emotionally disturbed and mentally challenged bunny huggers like Jack that make me believe that the next cold war will be between the green fascists and the free world. Before it was communism and "save the workers from the evil rich". Next it will be "save the animals from the evil omnivores".

    June 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  32. Sigvatr

    Who gives a shit? Humans think they are fucking awesome because they treat some animals a tiny bit better. Does it really make any difference? We kill them anyway.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  33. Lexxvs

    Dumb move. Obviously it is desirable that those animals aren’t tortured before being killed, but if you are going to be picky, let’s take the short road and stop exporting live cattle altogether. Unless you ensure you can sell it to let’s say… those very few countries in the first world that will certainly guaranty that decent treatment into happening. But I guess those countries already have all the meat they need.
    And by the way, let’s stop exporting to all the countries of the world that don’t strictly care for human rights, as I guess that humans are even more important that cattle, isn’t it? And by the way, add to the list those countries that do sell and buy to the aforementioned misbehaving countries, because –you know- they aren’t being solidary with good causes. Yeap. Let’s be consistent. Exporting is unnecessary anyways.

    June 13, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  34. TeXan

    Good for Australia! I applaud their values. Why should their animals be treated cruel? The same think happens with sheep sent to arabia.

    June 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  35. cynic, australia

    cynik: Actually being an omnivore and a vegetarian is perfectly consistent. Omnivores with access to a healthy balance of plant-based foods can choose to be vegetarian, as many humans have done.

    One of the reasons humans choose to be vegetarian is the hope that it'll get humans generally to consider the well-being of others (including humans!!) as a high priority; e.g. working harder to avoid wars (i.e. killing humans). In many ways society is already moving in this direction. Being vegetarian is just one way to contribute to this trend, which will hopefully result in less suffering & more happiness..

    June 14, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  36. Francesca

    I don't understand animal welfare people. If they care so much, they should make everyone vegetarians. Even without torture those animals will be killed!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  37. Vegetarian

    YOU MUST BE JOKING!!! Probably these people have a serious case of mad cow disease! Hope it happens and it will suit them right. A predominantly meat eating country is worried about animals they exported for slaughter anyway??

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
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