A LOCAL meat processing identity has thrown his support behind banning live exports to Indonesia, saying it would keep jobs in Australia.
Carey Brothers Butchers owner Greg Carey said he thought the idea to impose a blanket ban on exporting live cattle was a good one.
“I believe we should be processing those animals and creating more jobs for our people,” he said.
“Our government promotes or supports the trade of live export I guess for producers in remote areas and in the Channel Country, where it suits them not to have to drive their cattle the extra mileage to go to the nearest abattoir.”
Mr Carey said he hadn’t seen the footage on Monday night’s program of Four Corners, but had spoken to people who had.
“They said it was quite distressing,” he said.
“With the regulations we have here in Australia in regards to animal welfare, we are very strict; and it’s a shame to think live exports go to a country with a completely different set of regulations, where they are virtually out of control with the welfare of animals.”
Either way, Mr Carey said the reaction from the program will have little impact on the productivity of Carey Brothers Butchers, which kills about 25 beasts each week.
Instead, he said the decision would likely impact larger export markets.
Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott said he did not believe a total ban on live exports was the way forward.
He said while he was appalled at the footage from Indonesian abattoirs, he said it would be difficult to process meat in certain areas.
“(Processing meat in Australia) would be fine if there were enough abattoirs in the Northern Territory or the Kimberley’s,” he said.
“The problem is we don’t have enough export abattoirs in that region.”
Previously, there had been an abattoir in Katherine but Mr Scott said the seasonal nature forced its closure.
“It was very hard to engage workers and keep them employed throughout the year.
“It doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t look at something in the future – but we have been there and tried it and it’s been very very difficult and unviable.”
The other half of the problem, Mr Scott said, was Indonesia’s limited refrigeration resources.
“Until their distribution and refrigeration is in place, I believe exports will continue to be a part of the way they access beef for the people,” he said.
“I believe a total ban is not necessary, but certainly banning exports of cattle to these 11 abattoirs is.”