Indonesian live export to decline; cruelty to continue

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 16 December 2011

News reports that the Indonesian Government has committed to banning all live cattle imports from Australia within a few years points to the volatility of the live export trade — but it signals little reprieve for animals.

Australia’s live export industry is already increasing the number of animals sent into other markets including the Middle East, Egypt and Turkey — where, like Indonesia, animals are permitted to be brutally slaughtered while fully conscious.

The horrendous practices documented inside Indonesian slaughterhouses by Animals Australia earlier this year sparked an enormous public outcry calling for an end to the live export trade. For the first time, the Australian public saw a glimpse of hidden practices that were known to the live export industry for more than a decade.

In 2011 Animals Australia also conducted an investigation in Turkey, showing horrific routine slaughter practices. Despite this, animals continue to be sent to this destination. The live export industry continues to expand their trade into new markets with the full knowledge that the routine slaughter practices in importing countries fall well below the standards expected by the Australian community.

Following the public backlash after cruelty to Australian cattle was exposed in Indonesia, the Gillard Government issued new rules for live export permits, which are being rolled out to all markets over the next 12 months. These new rules are based on ‘International’ (OIE) standards, which do not require animals to be stunned before slaughter. Despite pressure from the Australian public, animal welfare groups, and many of from within their own party, the Labor Government has rejected calls to mandate stunning for animals exported live from Australia.

As a result, millions of cattle and sheep raised for the live export trade will not only still face the gruelling sea voyage to foreign countries, those who survive the journey will still risk a brutal slaughter without the mercy of stunning in overseas abattoirs.

Indonesia’s decision to dramatically reduce cattle imports from Australia demonstrates that this is a high risk industry not only for animals, but for those rural communities that have become too economically reliant upon it. The only way that animals can be protected from the cruelty of live export is for the Australian Government to ban it.


Every day that live animal export is allowed to continue, more animals face the cruelty of treacherous journeys on the open oceans and a terrifying death that is guaranteed neither quick nor painless. Please click here to send an instant message to your MP and State Senators to urge them to use their power to end the Government’s support for the inherently cruel live animal export trade.