Vietnamese facilities banned over cruelty

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Animal welfare activists allege this picture shows Australian cattle in an unsanctioned abattoir in Vietnam.
Camera IconAnimal welfare activists allege this picture shows Australian cattle in an unsanctioned abattoir in Vietnam. Credit: Animals Australia.

Commonwealth authorities have imposed widespread bans on cattle exports to Vietnam in response to the latest evidence of cruelty and regulatory failure exposed by Animals Australia.

The bans imposed by the Department of Agriculture are over and above voluntary bans by Australian livestock exporters. The DoA toldWestBusiness it had put indefinite suspensions on the supply of cattle to six facilities identified in a complaint from Animals Australia.

It has suspended supply to 10 other abattoirs previously approved to process Australian cattle and one feedlot in Phu Xuyen. A feedlot in Haiphong, which has been suspended in the past, is back on the banned list until further notice.

It is understood Animex, one of Vietnam’s biggest importers and owner of the Haiphong feed-lot, has been blacklisted by Australian authorities.

Animex has been importing tens of thousands of cattle as well as Australian buffalo in recent years.

The Australian Livestock Exporters Council blasted the Haiphong feedlot last week and applied a voluntary industry ban. ALEC members are expected to come under pressure to agree to random independent monitoring of CCTV footage from Vietnamese abattoirs in the wake of the latest cruelty scandal to hit the industry.

Animals Australia chief investigator Lyn White said only three of eight exporters in Vietnam used an independent service to monitor CCTV footage.

The industry has been rocked by the release of footage of cattle being bashed to death with sledgehammers. DoA launched a major investigation on June 10 and imposed the bans on Friday.

A DoA spokesman said exporters had been told to ensure any Australian cattle remaining in the suspended facilities were either removed or slaughtered humanely.

“Exporters have been directed to reconcile the whereabouts of all animals in their Vietnam supply chains,” the spokesman said. “The department has reviewed the videos and determined there is sufficient evidence to believe that the cattle are Australian and that Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System control and traceability requirements and animal welfare requirements are not being met.”

Meanwhile, the industry has celebrated the first shipment of cattle to Cambodia at the weekend. The cattle were shipped out of Darwin to Sihanoukville.

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