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Minister suspends live cattle trade to Indonesia

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Minister suspends live cattle trade to Indonesia 8 June 2011 DAFF11/174L

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, today announced that the Government has suspended the export of live cattle to Indonesia until new safeguards are established for the trade.

"Last night I ordered a complete suspension of all livestock exports to Indonesia for the purposes of slaughter," Minister Ludwig said.

"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.

"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 supply chain assurance."

Minister Ludwig said the decision to suspend the trade was made following serious consideration of the advice and evidence that has been presented to the Government since last Monday.

"As I previously announced, an independent reviewer will be appointed to undertake a complete supply chain review of the live export trade for all markets," Minister Ludwig said.

The independent reviewer will now also inform both the design and application of the new safeguards.

Minister Ludwig said the Indonesian and Australian governments have agreed to work closely together, and with industry, to bring about improvements in practices in abattoirs and to make this important trade sustainable in the longer term.

"The Australian Government is committed to reaching the best possible outcome for the livestock, the industry and our important relationship with Indonesia," he said.

"The introduction of safeguards to foster a verifiable and transparent supply chain assurance system is the best way to achieve this.

"After meetings held in Jakarta yesterday, both governments have agreed that Australia and Indonesia will implement an immediate and a longer-term plan.

"Experts from both countries will work together to identify abattoirs that adhere to good practices that could form part of an approved supply chain, and to identify those that still need to be improved.

"As partners, both countries respect each other's way of working."

The Australian Government will ensure that exporters of live cattle meet the animal welfare standards expected by the Australian and Indonesian governments.

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