Australia’s Chief Vet Rules MLA Slaughter Box Inhumane

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 25 August 2011

Australian taxpayers have contributed at least $2 million into abattoir restraint devices for cattle in Indonesia that a report by Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) has now condemned. These cruel boxes – which trip conscious cattle onto a concrete floor for slaughter – were developed, recommended and installed by live export bodies Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp over the past ten years.

Animals Australia Campaign Director Lyn White documented shocking images of the Mark I restraint box being used to kill Australian cattle in Indonesia (featured on ABC’s Four Corners in May), which sparked the official review of the slaughter box.  She welcomed today’s report which damns the restraint box and confirms that it breaches even the minimal international (OIE) animal welfare guidelines.The CVO’s conclusion follows earlier condemnation of the Mark I box by the world’s leading slaughter expert Temple Grandin she concluded after first being shown the box in operation in April that they were breaching every humane standard anywhere in the world

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig imposed a moratorium on the installation of any further the Mark 1 restraint boxes since Animals Australia’s investigation, and yesterday said it was now a permanent ban.

While it isn’t surprising that the live export industry commissioned and installed these boxes, the fact that $2 million of taxpayers money  people who do care about animal welfare  has been invested in animal cruelty in Indonesia is unforgivable, said Animals Australia cruelty investigator Lyn White.

This report shows that the live export industry’s culpability and complicity in entrenching animal cruelty in Indonesia is undeniable.

Since Four Corners the industry has been denying awareness of animal cruelty in Indonesia yet their own reports since 2004 have revealed full knowledge of the brutality Australian cattle have been subjected to in Indonesian slaughterhouses on a nightly basis.

The industry also knew in 2009 that the Mark 1 box contravened OIE guidelines yet they continued to install them as late as 2010. The boxes have also been installed in Libya, Malaysia, Brunei and the UAE.

Only recently the Minister for Agriculture told the live trade that their social licence was at risk. The reality is that they were never given a social licence and most Australians are appalled by this industry.  This is just a further example of why this industry is not worthy of  producer or government support.

This abject failure has occurred on the watch of both the Coalition and ALP governments. Both parties have failed to make live exporters accountable and to ensure proper oversight of the industry.

Minister Ludwig yesterday attempted to excuse the installation of the Mark I boxes by claiming they were designed prior to the international OIE Guidelines on slaughter which Australian signed up to in 2005.  Yet the vast majority of these devices  now rightly condemned by this report from Australia’s Chief Veterinarian – were manufactured and installed in Indonesia using Government funds from 2006 to 2010.

MLA and Livecorp now have a responsibility to right this wrong, and to do it immediately. We call on the industry to invest whatever money is necessary to refit those boxes to ensure they are only used for more humane methods of slaughter which includes stunning. Ms White concluded.


To download high resolution vision of the Mark 1 box in operation here: