Cattle export ban has lingering effect


Almost110,000 cattle are being transported to Indonesia since export ban ended, but ALRTA says the ban is having lingering impact

By Ruza Zivkusic | October 19, 2011

Almost110,000 cattle are being transported to Indonesia since the lifting of the livestock export ban, which the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association says is having a lingering impact on affected operators.

More than 99,800 cattle have already left Australian shores since the suspension was lifted three months ago, with a further 10,000 animals expected to be exported by the end of the week.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig believes the industry has become accustomed to new animal welfare rules but ALRTA Executive Director Philip Halton says the ban has had a big impact on transport operators’ confidence.

"People are not yet convinced that they’re safe from this kind of thing happening again," ALRTA Executive Director Philip Halton

"The government is rewriting their laws and in the future if there was ever a terrible scandal they’ll be dealing with an individual exporter rather than having to close off the whole country.

"It’s been a very painful way to get to that result but that result does mean that the whole industry is now going to be safe from having an entire country closed in one go."

Halton says the industry has learnt it needs to communicate with the government.

"The mountain won’t come to you; you have to go to the mountain, so it’s been very impressive to see our colleagues in the cattle industry really focusing on making sure the government can never ever fail to hear their messages," he says.

"The fact that the animals are moving into Indonesia is very encouraging, which means there is work, and all political parties are making very strong statements that they are committed to the export trade."

Ludwig says the quick ascent to 100,000 head of cattle can be attributed to industry’s ability to rapidly adapt to new supply chain standards.

"Australian livestock exporters have to date submitted applications to export more than 100,000 head of cattle in the last 14 weeks since the temporary suspension of live trade was lifted," Ludwig says in a statement.

"Exporters have indicated they anticipate the export of 200,000 head of cattle to Indonesia in the last part of this year since trade commenced."

Ludwig says 26 notices of intention to export feeder cattle to Indonesia under the new animal welfare framework have been approved by the department to date.

"These exports have been approved because applicants demonstrated that animals would be handled and processed at or above internationally accepted animal welfare standards," Ludwig says.

"The fact the number of cattle exported to Indonesia looks set to exceed 100,000 since the lifting of the temporary suspension is a testament to the hard work of industry and of government since the suspension was lifted."


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