A note from the Chairman
Update from Indonesia and live export inquiries
Dear MLA member,
A major milestone was reached last Wednesday with the announcement that the suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia has been lifted. This was an important first step allowing a sense of optimism that the re-opening of the trade is within reach.
On Friday, the Indonesian Government announced that import permits would be issued for 180,000 head of cattle for the July–September period, providing the basis to ensure Indonesia’s beef needs are met.
Australian and Indonesian industry groups acknowledge that the basis for the resumption of trade is the requirement that international standards for animal welfare are met, and that compliance with these standards is subject to independent audit.
Australian and Indonesian industry is committed to ensuring that approved supply chains supporting live cattle imported from Australia will meet and exceed OIE guidelines. The industry expects that these improvements in facilities will include appropriate technical devices, including stunning.
To this end, Australian and Indonesian industry is increasing the number of facilities that use stunning and other devices, ensuring they meet halal requirements.
I returned from Jakarta yesterday having met with local lotfeeders and importers and am confident that many are already prepared to meet the new conditions that will assure the welfare of Australian cattle throughout the supply chain.
The pressure Indonesian supply chains have been under during the last six weeks has meant the Australian industry has been able to accelerate improvements that had previously been slow-moving. During that time, a team of animal welfare monitors has been delivering a mix of training, inspections, infrastructure upgrades and technical support in slaughtering techniques at those facilities where they can make the biggest impact.
As many of you will be aware, the recent issues have generated two inquiries into the livestock export trade and MLA is working on submissions to both.
Submissions can be made by any member of the public and are due this Friday 15 July.
The Senate’s Rural Affairs and Transport Standing Committee is conducting an inquiry into the role and effectiveness of Government, MLA, LiveCorp and relevant industry bodies in improving animal welfare standards in Australia’s live export markets, as well as the domestic economic impact of the trade in Australia.
The Senate inquiry will also consider two bills put forward by independents seeking the prohibition of the trade.
Access the terms of reference of the Senate inquiry here
The Government also announced an independent review into the live export supply chain from paddock to the point of processing for all markets that receive Australian livestock, which will be undertaken by Mr Bill Farmer AO. The inquiry will consider facilities, treatment, handling and slaughter of livestock as well as the preparation and export of livestock.
The ‘Farmer‘ inquiry terms of reference can be accessed here
While MLA continues to play its part in assisting exporters and importers in the implementation of measures to assure the welfare of Australian cattle in Indonesia, I would like to reassure you that we are ever mindful of the need to deliver value to all our stakeholders.
Our remit extends far beyond our work in the livestock export industry. We conduct a wealth of strategic research and development to benefit the industry, high-impact marketing campaigns at home and abroad, initiatives to improve market access, and work to build community trust in red meat production.
The environment in which we all operate remains tough, however I assure you that your service company is continuing to work in the industry’s best interest and with the utmost integrity.
Meat & Livestock Australia