CHANGES to animal welfare requirements for live cattle export are running smoothly in Indonesia, with the take up by local businesses impressing an Australian expat in the industry.
Elders Indonesia operations manager Jason Hatchett said initial hesitations were shortlived when the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) guidelines came into effect in July 2011.
"Indonesians don't like change, but when ESCAS happened they changed in a matter of months and we were surprised how well they took it up," Mr Hatchett said.
Mr Hatchett manages an abattoir on the island of Java for Elders, supplying beef cuts meeting western needs in the local market.
The kill rate equates to about 400 head a month and is supplied from the Elders Indonesia feedlot based on the tip of the island of Sumatra in a region known as Lampung.
As a part of the ESCAS requirements, Mr Hatchett has overseen the introduction of a supply chain auditing system for quality from the trucks transporting cattle off the boat to the abattoirs buying the cattle and processing the animals.
"There has been a lot of improvement in the trucking area, particularly with the handling and understanding of the animals," Mr Hatchett said.
"Under ESCAS we meet the requirements well, but there's still a lot of room for improvement."
Mr Hatchett said the care taken for the cattle across the supply chain had completely changed the way Elders Indonesia did business.
"Before the (Indonesian live export ) ban came in we were selling out of here live every day and we could sell wherever we wanted to," he said.
"Whatever buyer wanted to buy the cattle could do so and they would take them away.
"That would be the end of our responsibility.
"These days it's different, every buyer we sell cattle to is audited, it's approved by the Department of Agriculture in Australia."
As a part of the implementation process, Mr Hatchett was responsible for visiting all abattoir sites supplied by Elders Indonesia to implement approved stunning techniques and install Elders-employed animal welfare officers who ensure on-going compliance.
"Everything is done to the highest level and they're all stunning," he said.
"ESCAS has taken a big burden on us and extra investment and time.
"But now we've done that we have people in place and the systems are in place.
"We trust our customers, they handle the cattle well and they're audited every six months.
"We cannot send cattle outside of this ESCAS system, we must sell to an approved abattoir or site, so it's very controlled."
The ESCAS regulations include a process for stunning and slaughtering animals.
Elders Indonesia has solely imported non-penetrating concussion knockers that renders the cattle unconscious prior to slaughter by Halal methods.
Almost 400 of these stunners have been distributed across the country at about 200 sites.
Elders Indonesia is responsible for training all users of the stun tool and these workers are then certified by the Indonesian Council of Halal (MUI).
p The reporter travelled to Indonesia courtesy of CBH.