Review head defends decision not to make stunning of exported cattle mandatory

THE head of an independent review into live exports has backed the government’s decision not to make stunning mandatory in the slaughter of Australia animals overseas, saying the practice is not universal and can still be inhumane.

Former departmental secretary Bill Farmer released the report of his investigation into the industry today as Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig confirmed a series of reforms to the $1 billion a year trade, reported by The Australian today.

The new arrangements will see extra transparency measures in place for live cattle exports to Indonesia – introduced in the wake of graphic ABC Four Corners footage – extended to all markets, including Asia and the Middle East, and will also cover the live-sheep and goat export industries.

The changes, which represent an unprecedented shake-up of the industry, will be staggered over the next 14 months to avoid mass disruptions.

Mr Farmer said the review examined animal killing practices overseas – with and without stunning – that met animal welfare guidelines.

“We also saw practices, both stunning and non-stunning, that fell far short of the OIE guidelines. Stunning applied incorrectly is not a humane practice,” he said.

“There is not universal acceptance of stunning, including under our own guidelines in Australia.”

Mr Farmer said he did see a “very significant move in Indonesia” to introduce stunning and by August, 30 abattoirs there had introduced the practice.

Senator Ludwig said the government had accepted all 14 recommendations made by Mr Farmer.

Malaysian pigs get IDs to protect pork eaters

KUALA LUMPUR – MALAYSIA will give locally-reared pigs embedded identity discs in a bid to stop the illegal slaughter and distribution of meat that is unfit for human consumption, reports said on Sunday.

This follows the revelation by Malaysian pork sellers association chief Goh Chui Lai over the weekend that unhealthy pigs were being slaughtered at illegal abattoirs, resulting in unhygienic meat being distributed nationwide.

Malaysian veterinary services department chief Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin told the New Straits Times daily that radio-frequency identification (RFID) disc would now be placed beneath the skin of each pig in order to track it.

‘Any mismatch between the number of pigs reared in each farm and the number slaughtered at licensed abattoirs will be considered suspicious,’ he told the paper.