This article is from a special feature on Indonesian live export.
INDONESIAN abattoirs have undergone some significant changes since the ban on live export to Indonesia was implemented last year.
This led to the emergence of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), a process that PT Juang Jaya Abdi Alam (JJAA) managing director Greg Pankhurst said has come at a massive cost to individual businesses.
JJAA runs a joint venture with Z Beef in Lampung and has another 14 abattoir facilities throughout Indonesia.
Z Beef abattoir in Lampung was one of the abattoirs featured in the Four Corners episode that contributed to the implementation of the ban.
Mr Pankhurst said he now employs 35 animal welfare officers (AWO) who spend time in feedlots, abattoirs and inspect trucks during transportation of the cattle to ensure ESCAS is maintained.
“That comes at a massive cost for us,” he said.
“We have spent millions and millions of dollars on upgrading and training but the system is very tight now and I don’t believe we will see any problems going forward.”
Mr Pankhurst said there had been no Australian government support and all the costs had come from within the business.
“There was some support which came through the exporters in terms of the $5 million grant they could apply for,” he said.
“But that only took effect from October 22, 2011, and we had invested most of our money well before that.
“The majority of the money we spent for stunning we had spent in May/June, and so it appears it will be very difficult to get any of that money through the exporter from the Australian government.”
The Z Beef abattoir kills between 18-20 cattle per night, but during Farm Weekly’s visit, on the second day of Ramadan, the abattoir slaughtered just two.
Mr Pankhurst said all 15 facilities were stunning, were AWO controlled and had full traceability. He said some of the physical changes to the abattoir included using highly modified Mark 1 boxes which now had head bales, so the animal’s head is caught before slaughter, and stunning equipment.
Other additions included rubber in the holding yards to stop the cattle seeing other animals slaughtered.
“All of it is done to help decrease the stress of the animal,” he said.
“Stunning has been accepted very well. We have got to be very happy with how the Islamic community have taken it up and there are some places which are still not using them, and are still using the Mark 4 box, but across the board most places have accepted the stunning very well and it is just safer and easier.”
Wellard Rural Group only exports to abattoirs which were now stunning.
“If the animal is stunned in the box then during the time which it is processed on the concrete below, it is very safe for the operator and totally humane, so it has been good for both sides,” Mr Pankhurst said.
“We have spent $2-3m and we continue to spend a lot of money in terms of maintenance and upgrades.
“We have CCTV in six of the abattoirs and that footage is monitored every morning.
“We have massive costs and ongoing costs.”