The decision to lift the suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia was hasty and made to appease the cattle industry, said Voiceless.
Condemning the Government's decision announced on 6 July by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig to reopen trade with Indonesia, Voiceless questioned the viability of the supply chains which, according to Senator Ludwig, must meet the international standards contained in the World Animal Health guidelines (OIE).
"These new orders allow the export of live cattle only where animals can be managed through supply chains that meet international standards," explained Ludwig. "These strict new conditions have been written into all export permits."
According to Ludwig, the new conditions require exporters to trace cattle from properties onto vessels, into feedlots and into abattoirs that meet "agreed international standards".
"Up until Tuesday, Minister Ludwig has been arguing that a supply chain assurance is needed before the trade is resumed to ensure animal welfare. He is now saying that live cattle can be exported through supply chains that meet international standards. We strongly doubt the viability of those supply chains," said Voiceless legal counsel Ruth Hatten.
"They place large responsibilities on exporters to ensure adherence to the standards and they require regular independent audits. How regular will these audits be? Who will conduct them? How extensive will they be? How long will it take for the audits to be made public?"
According to Voiceless, the international standards referred to by Ludwig are not enforceable and are not adequate to ensure animal welfare.
"The Government has rushed this decision to appease the industry - a decision that does not appear to provide any legal safeguards for animal welfare. The Government cannot guarantee that the brutalities we saw on Four Corners will not happen again."
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