Horror footage stops exports to Indonesia
Sydney - Australia late on Tuesday suspended its $350m live cattle trade with Indonesia after gruesome televised images exposed slaughterhouse practices there.
The ban would last until proper treatment of the animals was assured, said Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, who signed the order, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The government had temporarily suspended exports to 11 abattoirs after the footage aired nationally last week.
It showed steers being whipped and taking minutes to die after their throats were slit repeatedly. Australian abattoirs stun the animals first.
About 770 abattoirs operate in Indonesia and only five use the stun-gun method, according to Lyn White, campaign director of the animal welfare group Animals Australia, who filmed the footage.
Indonesia's methods of slaughtering animals are based on Islamic teachings, For Riwantoro, a senior official at Indonesia's ministry of agriculture, told The Associated Press last week.
"We have to protect consumers by ensuring they consume not only healthy and clean meat, but most important, it must be halaal," Riwantoro said.
He said without Australian cattle, Indonesia would rely more on local cattle or would look for imports from other countries.
Prime Minster Julia Gillard was quoted in the Morning Herald saying Australia would work with Indonesians and the cattle industry to bring about changes in the slaughterhouses.
Key lawmakers and Animals Australia and the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, better known as the RSPCA, had sought the ban on cruelty grounds.
The animal welfare groups co-operated with Australian Broadcasting Corporation to produce the television footage aired nationally.