June 22, 2011

 

Australia to resume cattle exports

 

 

There is an opportunity that live cattle trade to Indonesia could recommence within three weeks, but it would be restricted, according to Western Australian Agriculture Minister Terry Redman.

 

The trade was suspended two weeks ago following footage of animal cruelty aired on ABC's Four Corners.

 

Redman has visited Indonesia, but has been unable to visit any meatworks because of the Indonesian government's new ban on foreign visits to abattoirs.

 

He said there is a lot of anger about Australia's handling of the issue.

 

"You do not just walk back in and say 'lets start it up again'. Those relationships have to be built again and Indonesians need to look at their own food security and how they deal with their immediate needs," he said.

 

"They are taking steps to do that and are looking at other sources.

 

"Potentially their quotas on boxed beef markets might change and it might not be Australia that picks up the benefits from that."

 

Redman said there is recognition in Indonesia that animal welfare practices need to improve in order for trade to resume.

 

"The Indonesians, I think, clearly recognise that there needs to be a change to maintain access to this market," he said.

 

"From what I have seen, I believe that you could start with a couple of companies in two to three weeks. However, that will depend on the Indonesian government's position on that.

 

"There is a political complexity that sits over that which I am only just beginning to understand.

 

"Even if we do get that supply chain to only a couple of abattoirs happening, it is only going to be a very small proportion of the trade that was happening before, so either way, it is going to have a big impact on Australia's, and therefore Western Australia's, live cattle trade to Indonesia."

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