Relating to terms of reference part
- The facilities vary between above OIE standards and below OIE standards. There are some facilities that are world class. It would not take much to get a large number of abattoirs up to OIE standards, with a traceability system that makes the movement of Australian cattle accountable into these facilities.
The treatment and handling of the stock in general was very good (95%); there are plenty of professional stockman in Indonesia. There are a few bad eggs that need training or removal from the industry if they fail to change practice. I did not see anything in Indonesia that I have not witnessed in Australia!
Slaughter of livestock was varied between brilliant and dismal; however in the two weeks training that I myself was involved in we achieved real results, a massive turnaround in mindset. My biggest hurdle was to gain the trust of the people because they have been given mixed messages from Australia! I was told by an old hand there that they were instructed by a fat Australian man not to use the head rope! This criminal. Once we asked them to please go back to the head rope they were thrilled as were we because it is easier, faster, safer and humane. This is the system for using the Knife. The mark 1 boxes could easily be modified with the addition of a head bail to stop the use of the leg ropes.
We also made great headway on acceptance of the stun guns with plenty in use over there already the word was spreading that this is best practice. A Mullah from the MUI visited one particular abattoir, that I have fond memories from and witnessed the stunning process, he pronounced that stunning is halal and that nay animal cruelty is not halal. This is all recorded on video and the mullah also signed documents to state this is so. That is the position of the MUI which came as no surprise to me!
- ASEL is very adequate.
- There is adequate regulation!
- I believe for an Indo trip any breed could go once they are acclimatized. However Brahman and Brahman cross are the best suited and perform just as well.
Weight is an issue; they can handle heavier slaughter cattle without a doubt, including cows, not sure about the bulls (thick skulls for stunning). This trade should resume ASAP! The body condition should be similar to the start of a long trucking voyage, what’s the point of doing anything with under conditions cattle if they won’t make the trip? This is common sense.
- I believe that the NILS system should be made compulsory for all producers and that must give the producer the right to trace forward through the system to point of slaughter. I would be prepared as a producer to follow my cattle through with a representative of the RSPCA. We need the help of the RSPCA to get this trade back on its feet. Monitoring should be done by the Indonesian Department with spot checks from the Indonesian branch of the RSPCA or other well respected parties.
- Everyone should strive for best practice but the reality is that economic restraints will hold some people back; the little man will need financial support from the RSPCA to help him along. This will be a boon for everyone involved and help stop some of the bad feelings between Indonesia and Australia. They are our neighbours and we need each other for trade and a fair deal for both sides so we can all live a happy life. We cannot choose where we are born and each soul must make the most of the hand we are dealt by God.
- This trade must resume ASAP, there will always be a need for animals on this earth, used as beasts of burden, food, textiles, companionship, science and the list goes on. Anyone who believes otherwise is a damn fool and should do some hard labour for themselves.
We must get some good out of this crises and I hope that it is not the producer that has to pay, Australians should give thanks to their producers every day, the best thanks would be a better price that will empower us to use best practise and allow the little man, the backbone of Australia to progress for a change.