Cattle producers want action now
SOUTHERN Downs cattle producers were united yesterday over the need for the Australian Government to take action to ensure the humane treatment of cattle exported to Indonesia.
The call came in the wake of a disturbing Four Corners documentary on the ABC on Monday which showed cattle being mistreated in several Indonesian abattoirs.
But at the Warwick Saleyards yesterday there was mixed sentiment about how best to tackle what many see as a “horrific” practice.
Deuchar’s Graham Kirkland said he struggled to sit through the program.
“It was very disturbing footage and there is no way we would allow cruelty like that on an Australian property,” he said.
But he questioned if a ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia was the way to overcome the problem.
“I think there really needs to be an educational approach,” Mr Kirkland said.
“We need to show them a humane way to slaughter animals and then ensure they put it into practice.”
He said the alternative option – banning or suspending live exports – could have damaging repercussions for Southern Downs cattle producers.
“There is no doubt losing an overseas market like this would impact domestically,” Mr Kirkland said.
“Prices would drop as supply increased and the effect would be felt even as far south as Warwick.”
But others like Rod McLennan of Swan Creek, while agreeing the ABC program showed unacceptable cruelty, felt the beef industry could benefit from increased domestic numbers.
“Processing plants are closing down across the country because they can’t buy cattle at competitive rates,” he said.
“If we can keep domestic meatworks going we can provide Australian jobs.”
Others like Allora’s Barrie Geitz expressed concerns about the domestic market’s ability to absorb more numbers if live trade to Indonesia was banned.
“We need an educational program for those involved in the slaughter process in Indonesia,” he said.
“So the trade can be maintained and so we know the cattle we send are being treated humanely.”