Friday, June 3, 2011

Indonesian abattoirs on Joe Ludwig's blacklist do not take any Australian cattle By Peter Alford and Lanai Vasek

 Two of the Indonesian abattoirs blacklisted by Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig over concerns about the use of cruel practices do not handle Australian cattle, while an official said a third used the recommended humane method of stunning animals before killing them.

                                                                                                                 Picture: Oka Budhee
 Production manager Jonet Rusmargono examines Australian cattle at the Dharma Jaya abattoir in East Java.

 And the manager of a fourth banned facility, as reported by The Australian yesterday, says it has not handled Australian cattle since January, it has no current plans to do so again and its practices meet the highest Indonesian standards.
 The RSPCA, which provided the analysis on which Senator Ludwig's bans were based, yesterday denounced the "sloppiness" of his advisers, who failed to note that two of the abattoirs were unlikely to slaughter Australian animals and were included on the list for comparative purposes.
 "The sloppiness of the minister's department is astounding in coming up with this list," an RSPCA spokeswoman said.
 "All (the department) has done is cut and paste a list from the RSPCA scientific report that was never intended to be directly quoted in legislation... Clearly departmental officials haven't bothered to read the RSPCA report properly."
 The RSPCA analysis of video evidence, gathered by Animals Australia investigators of cruelty against Australian cattle in 10 import abattoirs, takes for comparison two slaughterhouses killing local animals by traditional methods. Those abattoirs, on Lombok and Sumbawa, are now banned from receiving Australian animals, even though Joni Liano, director of the Indonesian Meat Producers and Feedlot Association, said they had never used imported animals.
 He confirmed the assertion of Ms Wisma, manager of Terpadu slaughterhouse at Bogor, that her facility had not processed Australian cattle since January.
 Mr Joni said he was surprised by the Australian banning of another slaughterhouse, Z Beef in Bander Lampung in Sumatra, because it was one of only 12 facilities in Indonesia that stunned cattle before killing them.
 The Weekend Australian was unable to contact Z Beef as its offices were closed yesterday for a government holiday.
 The RSPCA, however, insisted yesterday that cattle were not being stunned when Z Beef was investigated in March.
 "Just because a facility has stunning equipment, doesn't mean it is used," the agency said.
 Senator Ludwig's office declined to explain the justification for banning the four abattoirs.
 "The export suspensions allow for prohibitions to be lifted if the minister is satisfied that slaughter and related operations at a facility are being conducted in accordance with relevant OIE recommendations," a spokesman said.
 "The list of facilities to which the prohibition applies is based upon departmental advice.
 "This was following their investigation into the footage and information supplied by Animals Australia and the RSPCA."
 While Canberra's shoot-first reaction has risked the credibility of its response to the brutality exposed by the ABC's Four Corners on Monday, Jakarta has been unable to respond to the allegations in any effective way.
 It has emerged this week that, although Indonesia has an anti-cruelty law specifically covering farm animals, it is not enforceable.
 A senior Indonesian agriculture official confirmed that all the national government could do about the offending abattoirs is write letters.
 Sri Mukartini, head of the Agriculture Ministry's animal welfare division, said the Justice Ministry would be asked to increase penalties for cruelty to animals under the general criminal code provision.
The maximum penalty now is three months' jail with a fine of 4500 rupiah (50c).
 Greens leader Bob Brown, leading a push for Australia to ban all live exports, yesterday conceded such a move would cost jobs in the northern cattle industry.
 But Senator Brown said far more jobs would be created from increasing processing in Australia. "We are going to stop the cruelty that we've seen serially in countries overseas that don't have the standards that Australia has, and we need to be ensuring that the slaughter occurs here in Australia," he said.


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