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Monday, July 4, 2011

Live Cattle Exports to Indonesian Crisis Worsens

Our live export cattle industry is now in crisis. A memo was sent to our beef importers on Friday advising them that no permits to import cattle to Indonesia would be issued. It stated "authorisation for the import of cattle for period June-September 2011 cannot be issued, pending further development".

A spokeswoman for Joe Ludwig said last night that there is no need to panic, the move wasn’t a surprise, nor was the ban confined to only Australian cattle. It didn’t mean that Australian farmers were definitely locked out for three months because a permit could be reissued on an “interim” basis. "The decision not to issue import permits affects all countries, not just Australia” she said and "The government would continue to work with the Indonesians to resume trade as quickly as possible." But there is real concern that Indonesia may find an alternative supplier as other countries wait eagerly in the wings.

There is a growing number of people in Australia who believe that we should stop all live animal exports, it’s cruel and we shouldn’t allow it at all. So do we get behind our cattle producers and exporters or hang out for the right for all animals who leave Australia to be killed in the kindest way possible?

Two weeks ago Tony Windsor had the opportunity to vote for Bob Katter’s proposal to deliver stun guns to Indonesian abattoirs which would have brought about a speedy resumption of the live cattle trade but he decided to vote with the government. He had the chance to stand up for the cattle growers in his electorate who are suffering a 20 per cent fall in price, but he blew it. Now the whole country knows about it, the independent for New England might find he isn’t as popular with the voters as he used to be.