July 9, 2011
Indonesia to import 180,000 Australian cattle in Q3
Indonesia will import 180,000 live cattle from Australia for the third quarter, marking the restart of imports after the AUD320-million (US$344-million) trade ban was lifted this week, chief economics minister Hatta Rajasa said Friday (Jul 8).
Australia's government removed the month-long ban on live cattle exports to neighbouring Indonesia on Wednesday, saying it was satisfied the trade could resume after a scandal over mistreatment of livestock.
Rajasa met with Australia's foreign minister Kevin Rudd in Jakarta on Friday to agree the details of resumption of trade, which comes just as Indonesia's demand is expected to pick up during the fasting month of Ramadan in August.
Rudd said both sides had agreed on cattle welfare, but he did not specify what improvements to standards Indonesia had made or had promised to make, after a joint team of experts toured abattoirs in the archipelago last month.
"Australia and Indonesia welcome any arrangements that industry reaches to give the sector higher standards, including the use of appropriate technical devices to meet halal standards," Rudd said at a joint news conference in Jakarta.
Australia's agriculture minister said this week it had revised export control orders to require ranchers to apply for permits to meet welfare requirements, and to trace cattle from farms through shipping to abattoirs with agreed standards.
The minority government had been under pressure from ranchers to overturn the ban. Cattle producers had warned the decision was costing jobs and that domestic beef prices would fall, while some had also threatened to slaughter stock.
Elders Ltd, one of Australia's largest shippers of live cattle to Indonesia with up to 200,000 head annually, said it had booked a ship on August 1 to take 3,200 cattle to its Indonesian abattoir.
Elders owns a fully accredited abattoir in Indonesia and on Thursday said it was willing to provide the needed third-party certification that would be transparent and provide full traceability.
The abattoir stuns the cattle before slaughtering them, a practice that is seen as causing less distress to cattle. The ban came after television footage showed cattle being beaten, whipped and maimed prior to slaughter in some abattoirs.
Jackman said it would still take at least two months for shipments to pick up.