My wife and I manage a tropical beef cattle research station near Charters Towers in North Queensland that is owned and operated by a north Queensland university.
We also own and operate our own beef cattle property near Torrens Creek , North Queensland.
Over the last 10 to 15 years we have sold cattle from both places for live export to both Indonesia and Egypt.
In addition to this our son has worked as a stockman for a live cattle export company for 18 months during 2009/10 travelling on the boats to Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Drawing on our experience as producers, cattle handling trainers and our son’s experience at the ‘coalface’ of the live cattle export industry we would like to make a few comments in support of this industry.
As part of my role as manager of the research station I am involved with training undergraduate Vet Science students in industry best practice cattle handling and husbandry.
It is my experience that good low stress handling methods and efficient cattle management are widely adopted by most cattle producers in N0orthern Australia and are in fact necessary to be able handle the large numbers run on these extensive cattle stations.
In summary the live export trade is a win/win for northern Australia cattle producers. Well managed tropically adapted cattle are the best suited for the live cattle export trade and result in the best return for these cattle producers.
Any genuine cattleman has great empathy for their cattle and in fact spends most of their working life looking after their health and wellbeing.
The scenes shown on the Four Corners program shocked and disgusted every cattleman I’ve talked to since they were shown.
In 2009 my son was able to go to a few abattoirs in Jakarta slaughtering for the wet market. His observations were that the teams of men operating the killing boxes were quick and efficient and that the animal was dead generally within 10 seconds of coming out of the box. These slaughtering teams had to be efficient as they had only a short time to deliver their carcasses to the ‘wet’ market very early each morning.
With our first hand experience in our industry right through the production chain from cattle station, live cattle export boats to overseas feedlots we know that the welfare of cattle is paramount and in fact imperative to be of high standard in all parts of the chain for it to be profitable for all involved.
Substandard welfare practices are not only unacceptable but also are not profitable.
Obviously some processing facilities in Indonesia do not meet the standards we would like for handling of our cattle. With this knowledge we fully support the solution, for the continuation of the trade, by MLA as follows-