Mr Bill Farmer AO
C/- Australian Commonwealth Government
Dear Mr Farmer,
I am a Northern Territory small business owner/operator in the contract helicopter mustering sector. I have been attracted to cattle and horses and loved them for as long as I can remember (about 4 years old). I have worked with cattle all my life starting in the Hunter Valley through Queensland and have been in the Northern Territory now for about 25 years. The welfare of animals is extremely important through all stages from conception to slaughter. I have been taught and naturally practice low stress stock handling techniques all my life and have found over my time as a helicopter service provider that I will not continue to get work unless I am capable of handling stock extremely carefully whilst carrying out my duties. Modern Cattle owners and modern markets insist on it.
The other side of my work involves compliance with Civil Aviation Regulations and to this end I am required to operate according to legislated rules. The conduct of my operation is tested via regular auditing and monitoring by CASA.
No industry is perfect and will never go close unless the establishment of operating procedures, ongoing auditing and corrective actions are applied for continual improvement. This system could not be difficult to establish in Indonesian abattoirs, many I believe are already compliant or close to it.
I am 52 years old and have been involved in and witnessed the development of the northern cattle industry which continues to improve in all areas including, mustering, yards and handling facilities, veterinary protocols and ships.
The industry is vital to the survival and development of the north and can be monitored and improved as many other industries are for the mutual benefit of the cattle, cattlemen, supporting services and industry and the young families involved.
Please maintain live cattle exports.