Australia considers livestock ban to Indonesia due to animal cruelty
After video footage revealed brutal treatment at Indonesian slaughterhouses, Australia, the world's biggest live animal exporter, may ban livestock sales to its northern neighbor.
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Animal rights groups have long condemned Australia’s live export trade, questioning the conditions in which animals are transported on long sea voyages and the welfare standards at their destinations. Dr. Jones says that it's not uncommon for at least 2 percent of sheep shipped to the Middle East and other regions die en route.Skip to next paragraph
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There was an international outcry in 2004 after 5,000 sheep died on an Australian ship bound for Saudi Arabia. The Australian government suspended the export of live sheep to Egypt in 2006 after a television program exposed cruel practices in slaughterhouses there. The trade has since resumed but is limited to one designated feedlot and processing center.
Government under pressure
With MPs bombarded by protests from their constituents this week – some veteran politicians say they have never experienced such a massive response to a single issue – analysts say Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor government is under intense pressure to act robustly. Some Labor backbenchers, along with some independent and Greens Party MPs who prop up the minority government, want a ban on exports to countries that fail to meet Australian standards.
While observers say that is unlikely to happen overnight, Mr. Ludwig has not ruled out a total ban on exports to Indonesia. Bowen, of the cattlemen's association, acknowledged that cattle farmers were “sickened” by the ABC program, but warned that a ban would cause hardship to thousands of people.
“The stark reality, particularly in northern Australia where there is no processing facility [slaughterhouse], is that we’ve got an industry that for many producers is entirely reliant on the Indonesian live market.”
Jones, who analyzed the footage, says that animals died after an average of 11 cuts to the throat, and some were stabbed as many as 33 times.
Indonesia responded by promising to investigate its processing facilities, but it admitted that an animal welfare law drafted two years ago had yet to be implemented. The country’s largest Islamic organization, the Indonesia Ulema Council, condemned cruel slaughter practices as “sinful.” In Indonesia, halal authorities permit cattle to be stunned before being killed.
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