Monday, 27 June 2011

Animal Welfare - Australian Export Ban

There are many different organizations that are against animal abuse.  It may not come as a surprise, but farmers are against animal abuse too!  Why would a farmer want to abuse his very source of income, putting his families' life at risk of debt?  Think about it, if a carpenter wants to build a good strong house, and make a good profit off  of it, he isn't going to throw the boards around, bash them up and make them weak.  That won't build him a strong house, that will make the house shaky, and more likely to break.  So as a farmer, who wants to sell good, healthy steer, or raise good healthy calves, do you think he is going to abuse the product, make the cattle sick and ratty looking?  What auction mart or butcher is going to want to buy that beef?

So now I come to the story that has started me thinking about animal abuse.

(warning: the videos are pretty gruesome)

If any of you have been watching the news the past couple of months, you may have heard of the the Australian beef export ban to Indonesia.  BBC does a really good job of summing up the matter here.

What the problem is?

On Wednesday, June 8, 2011, Australia suspended live cattle exports to Indonesia.  Indonesia is Australia's largest market, importing 60% of Australia's live beef.  Australia is going to ban export for as long as six months because of their concern of the safety and welfare of the animals being shipped there.  Videos were shown to the Australian public of cattle being tortured and treated terribly at slaughter houses in Indonesia.  The Australian government realized how bad this was, and even thought the ban will hurt the Australian export market for some time, they decided that the welfare of the animals needed to be top priority.  I couldn't agree more.

I feel like the choice that the Australian government made to ban export to Indonesia was the right one.  Animal welfare should be top priority, and the animal abuse in Indonesia needs to be dealt with properly.  As Temple Grandin stated in the video, "the conditions are terrible, and it violates all the humane standards all around the world" and it needs to be stopped.  I think that the government took the right step by banning export and offering them help to fix the situation.  This is an example of the cattle industry seeing a problem, and taking action to fix it.  Even though the Australian export markets might be harmed because of the ban, the government still went forward with the ban.
  Annual live cattle exports to Indonesia, which buys about 60 per cent of Australia’s cattle shipments, contributed $340 million (U.S.) to the country’s economy in 2010, according to Meat & Livestock Australia. - Washington Post
This puts Indonesia in a tough place too.  Without the import of Australia's beef they will have to rely more on their own markets, which will be a good thing for a short while.  Keeping the business close to home could help stimulate their economy, but, as the first video said, they may only have enough beef to last them until September.  This means that Indonesia had better clean up their act quick, and start imposing animal welfare acts before their country runs out of beef.

This is a huge issue, and I completely back what the Australian government is doing.  This could be Australia in a bad position if Indonesia looks to other markets for export, but I would hope other countries, such as Canada, would refuse to export live cattle there since the animal welfare issue has been heard worldwide.  I think that other nations need to support Australia's decision, and need make sure that we are all supporting animal welfare.  Thanks to Dr. Temple Grandin and all of her work with humane animal slaughter in Canada and the United States, Canadian cattle are treated properly and humanely in slaughter facilities, and no cases like that in Indonesia have been found.

I also feel that it should be reassuring for people all over to know that when the cattle industry hears of problems where animals are being treated inhumanely, they deal with them abruptly.  Australia did not try to hide this fact, instead, they looked into the problem and are working to fix it.  I think it is good to know that we are made aware of the issues, even when they aren't in our own country, that should provide reassurance to consumers in the sense that if there were animal welfare practices like that of Indonesia, in Canada, we would all hopefully hear about it.

I feel that Australia did the right thing in the animal welfare case even though it will be hard on their economy.  I also think that other nations need to step up with Australia and back them, so that we can show that we all support animal welfare, I know I sure do!

So now I place this issue in your hands, how do you feel? Do you think that Australia did the right thing? And as Canadians, what do you think our country should do?

I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Hello hello,

    Though subject to blog about. You did a great job. And why don't you go over to the Real farmwives and friends facebook page and maybe you can gain some followers there for your scholarship!


  2. It is definately a tough subject to blog about, but I think it is an important one! I always have people ask me about animal welfare and if our animals are treated properly or if the things they see on television are true. This is one of those things. Because the abuse was made public, I think it is important for the cattle producers of the world to speak to the topic, and comfort the consumers. We can't deny the fact that their is animal abuse in the world, but what we can do is set a good example, and work at fixing the problem. I feel Australia has done just that. I was on the fence about addressing the topic, because I don't want to give people the wrong impression. But the news has it out there, many people have asked and commented about it, and I wanted to try and explain it as best I could. I am glad you liked it! Thanks so much for the comments and the follow!