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Australian cattle industry provides animal welfare solution



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Australian cattle industry provides animal welfare solution

06 June 2011

Australia to only supply cattle to 25 accredited Indonesian processing facilities currently meeting OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) animal welfare standards

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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 •

The Australian livestock industry has outlined its solution to assure the welfare of Australian cattle

processed in Indonesia.

Meat & Livestock Australia Chairman Don Heatley said the solution aims to prevent Australian

cattle in Indonesia from suffering any acts of animal cruelty or poor welfare practices.

"Our solution commits to the reduction of trade to a core group of facilities in Indonesia accredited

to meet OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) animal welfare standards.

"A rapid increase in stunning - which exceeds OIE standards - is also a central part of this solution.

"The implementation of these measures has already begun with the full support of the Indonesian

industry.

"We will also need both the Australian and Indonesian Governments to support these measures to

secure urgent animal welfare improvements," he said.

The industry has conducted a preliminary audit of the 100 processing facilities that have been

receiving the majority of Australian cattle.

The audit has graded these facilities into four categories. The first is a group of five modern

facilities that are using stunning effectively and consistently applying appropriate animal welfare

standards with well trained staff.

The solution recommends these facilities be allowed to continue processing Australian cattle with

regular checks by an independent team of veterinary experts, approved by the Australian and

Indonesian Ministers of Agriculture, to ensure that high animal welfare standards continue.

The preliminary audit also indicates there is a second category with another 20 facilities that

consistently meet OIE standards of animal welfare. While these standards do not require stunning,

at least two of these facilities have recently commenced stunning operations.

As an additional level of assurance, the Australian industry is stationing an animal welfare officer at

each of these abattoirs during hours of operation to ensure Australian cattle are handled at or

above OIE standards every time.

"This step will ensure that only the best 25 facilities receive our cattle. These facilities currently

account for around 40% of Australian cattle sent to Indonesia," Mr Heatley said.

"The Australian industry is also committed to introducing improved infrastructure in these facilities

and transitioning as many as possible to stunning.

Page 1 of 2 Australian cattle industry provides animal welfare solution | Meat & Livestock Australia

"Facilities in the remaining categories will not receive Australian cattle until they can be guaranteed

to meet accepted standards."

Mr Heatley said on seeing the footage, industry immediately moved to suspend supply of

Australian cattle to the facilities identified and this suspension remains in place.

"Both the MLA Board and the LiveCorp Board will instigate immediate reviews of all industry-funded animal welfare programs in all markets," Mr Heatley said.

"I would like to apologise to the Australian livestock industry and the broader community for the

hurt and anger caused by the recent footage of horrendous acts of cruelty to our cattle in

Indonesia.

"No section of our community was more distressed than those of us whose life's work is the caring

and raising of livestock.

"I can assure you that if this disgusting cruelty had been witnessed by any Australian industry

representatives before now, action would have immediately been triggered to bring it to a halt

"This issue has made it clear that we must only allow our cattle to reach those facilities where we

can be absolutely confident they will be handled in line with internationally accepted welfare

practices.

"The solution we have put forward is critical to ensure the welfare of Australian cattle in Indonesia.

We are taking these measures on behalf of Australia's cattle producers who will not tolerate cruelty

to their animals," Mr Heatley said.

Ends

Released by: Meat & Livestock Australia, LiveCorp, Cattle Council of Australia and the Australian

Livestock Exporters' Council

Media contacts: 02 9463 9269 or 02 9463 9189

© 2011 Meat & Livestoc

Page 2 of 2 Australian cattle industry provides animal welfare solution | Meat & Livestock Australia