Australia said Wednesday that it was suspending cattle exports to Indonesia, its top market, after an outcry over video footage showing inhumane treatment of cattle there. Animal rights groups also called for an outright ban on the trade to other countries.
The minority Labor government has been under pressure to halt the 320 million Australian dollar, or $342 million, live cattle business with Indonesia after television footage showed cattle being beaten, whipped and maimed prior to slaughter in some Indonesian abattoirs. Canberra will impose a six-month initial suspension on shipments to Indonesia, and the government will also review the live export trade to all overseas markets, including the Middle East, the Australian agriculture minister, Joe Ludwig, said.
“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,” he said. Lyn White, who shot the graphic footage and is the campaign director for Animals Australia, said that the suspension should have come sooner and that the industry had been aware of problems in Indonesia for years. “There has been an extraordinary outpouring of rage that our cattle have been treated like this and have been supplied for such treatment. So this is a first step,” Ms. White said in an Australian television interview.