June 13, 2011

 

Indonesia to investigate cattle cruelty

 

 

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered an investigation of slaughterhouses after Australia had suspended live cattle exports due to animal cruelty concerns.

 

Australia has suspended all live cattle exports to Indonesia for up to six months after a public outcry when shocking images of mistreatment in the country's slaughterhouses were broadcast on state television.

 

The footage broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation included kicking, hitting, gouging of eyes, and breaking of tails of some cattle as Indonesian workers attempted to force them into slaughter boxes.

 

"We have to highly respect animal welfare. The agriculture minister and health minister must visit the abattoirs," Yudhoyono said. He also said the country needed to find a solution to ensure meat supplies ahead of important Islamic holidays. "If we fail to take appropriate measures, it could affect domestic meat supply," he said.

 

Indonesian ministers are told to act immediately to prevent a possible increase in meat prices as the mainly Muslim country will celebrate the holy month of Ramadan in July and the Eid al-Fitr holiday in August.

 

Yudhoyono said that the Australian ban should serve as a challenge to boost the country's efforts to become self-sufficient in meat supplies.

 

Australian Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said earlier that the live cattle trade, worth AUD318 million (US$336 million) a year, would not start again until safeguards were in place to ensure animal welfare in Indonesia.

 

Australia exports 60% of its live cattle to Indonesia, with about 500,000 animals sent each year.

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