Task force could end the cruelty

Kate MatthewsCountryman

Pastoralists from WA and the Northern Territory are calling for a task force to be set up to resolve live export issues with Indonesia.

More than 100 pastoralists met in Katherine on Tuesday condemning the treatment of animals in some Indonesian abattoirs.

They said banning live exports would not improve animal welfare and they want the industry to stay open and the Australian and Indonesian governments to work together.

Priorities include producing an economic ripple map to show the flow-on effect of stopping live exports, a campaign to ban animal cruelty not live exports, more public education of industry improvements and all meatworks to be accredited to the highest standards.

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Rohan Sullivan, from the Northern Territory Cattle Association (NTCA), said stopping exports would devastate Australia’s cattle industry, families, regional areas, trade with Indonesia and their families.

“Nor should it be forgotten that the pastoral industry is one of the few employers for Aboriginal people in remote areas,” he said.

“If we stop exports to Indonesia, we are walking away from the millions of dollars that Australian producers have invested in infrastructure, training and improved animal husbandry. This doesn’t help the cattle which will continue to be processed.

“It just opens the door to imports from other countries that may not adopt our standards.”

Heytesbury Cattle Company general manager Rusty Richter said the key point from the meeting was that stopping live export would not improve animal welfare.

As manager of 150,000 head of cattle, Mr Richter said Australia needed to continue with the industry and help improve animal welfare.

“Australia is the only one that shows an interest in animal welfare,” he said.

The meeting was convened by the NTCA.

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