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Live exports flaws exposed: another Indonesian breach, Pakistan inquiry delay

Estimates & Committees
Lee Rhiannon 2 Nov 2012

Under questioning in last night's Senate Estimates live exports hearings the Australian Greens revealed that it has taken over a month for the Department of Agriculture to kick start its internal investigation into the cull in Pakistan.

Senator Rhiannon also highlighted a potential new scandal in Indonesia, with a complaint being investigated into the slaughter of Australian cattle in West Java using traditional roping methods in breach of the government's new live export regulations ("Abattoir under investigation", p 4 The Australian newspaper today).

Footage of the hearings will be made available on Senator Rhiannon's site today.

"The alleged slaughter of cattle using traditional roping methods, under the apparent watch of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Risk Analysis officer, was said to have occurred in the Cibinong abattoir in West Java on 28 September and was reported to the Department by Animals Australia," said Australian Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.

"The industry body, the MLA, would not confirm that their officer witnessed the incident. They saw no responsibility to report it and stated that their role was not that of a watchdog.

"This alleged breach of the government's new Export Supply Chain Assurance System in Indonesia again illustrates the difficulties of ensuring the welfare of Australia's cattle and sheep overseas.

"The Department of Agriculture were unable to give a date for the release of the report of the investigations into the botched Pakistan slaughter of Australian sheep.

"Department officers admitted that it was only this Monday, more than a month after Minister Ludwig promised an inquiry, that they kick started the investigation by writing to the exporter Wellard to seek background information.

"The Department and the MLA went out of their way to praise the new ESCAS system, despite the obvious flaws which have led to the recent Bahrain, Kuwait and Pakistan incidents.

"I asked why LiveCorp and the MLA were not willing to appear on the upcoming Four Corners expose of the Bahrain and Pakistan situation due to screen this Monday.

"LiveCorp explained their reluctance to appear away on several occasions by saying it was their job to service the industry and it was really up to industry itself to answer questions put by the program," Senator Rhiannon said.


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