FARM lobby groups WAFarmers and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) have thrown their support behind the Australian Export Industry’s decision to suspend supply to Indonesian abattoirs.
LiveCorp chief executive Cameron Hall made the initial announcement last week following his first viewing of the footage that was aired to the public on ABC’s Four Corners earlier this week.
WAFarmers Meat Section president Jeff Murray said cruelty to animals was unacceptable and would not be tolerated.
“At the end of the day those practices are unacceptable,” Mr Murray said.
“No Australian producer would condone the footage we saw on Four Corners.
“Some of the things being done to some of those cattle just didn’t make sense.”
Mr Murray said Australia needed to help Indonesia with their animal welfare because Australia needs Indonesia as a future market.
“The biggest thing is from Australia’s point of view is that we have a half a million head of cattle that require somewhere to end up out of Northern Australia,” he said.
“There is no meat works between Townsville to Geraldton.
“If those cattle come back through the southern markets it would just drive the price through the floor and wreck the whole cattle industry.”
WAFarmers president Mike Norton said it has got to the point where it needs to be Government-to-Government action on the issue.
“My first trip to Indonesia was in 1992 and again in 2007,” Mr Norton said.
“We saw all that in Indonesia three years ago and we weren’t happy.
“We told Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) that we probably needed to extradite what they were doing with the restraining boxes and the stun guns.”
“But obviously you are dealing with people with different religious and cultures to us.
“Industry has tried to change to convince those people to change their methodology but hasn’t got the traction that we needed, so it is probably going to have to go Government-to-Government intervention and negotiation.”
PGA president Rob Gillam said he believed the footage was horrific and something needed to be done.
“Most of the producers believed that the Indonesian abattoirs were using the stun guns on the cattle in the restraining boxes,” Mr Gillam said.
“But after last night all the restraining boxes were doing was making it easier to put the rope around the cows’ legs.
“So that will be the call that we will be making at this stage.
“That the cattle which are sent to Indonesia have to be stunned.”