Dear Ms Bloomfield,
Thank you for your email.
While there was a brief reference to the earlier program in “Another Bloody Business”, it was essentially a completely new and separate story and not a sequel. As I wrote to you earlier, the original program was carefully investigated by Audience and Consumer Affairs following complaints received after its broadcast and its production was found to be in accordance with the ABC Code of Practice. Consequently, there was no need to make any apologies or corrections in relation to that program.
Subsequent to the broadcast of “A Bloody Business” there was, as you know, significant coverage of the issue and its ramifications by both the ABC and other media. There was no need for “Another Bloody Business” to revisit all those developments in its story. It did, however, report the introduction of the ESCAS system and quoted Phillip Gylde saying:
“What that [the Indonesian revelations] led to was the introduction of what’s known as ESCAS, the Exporters Supply Chain Assurance System, which for the first time enables the Australian exporter to control what happens to animals from the moment they leave the farm till the point of slaughter.”
In relation to your questions specific to “A Bloody Business, Four Corners advises that:
• Not showing “A Bloody Business” footage to all interviewees. The footage was shown to Cameron Hall, CEO of LiveCorp, the body responsible for overseeing conditions for cattle when they are exported from Australia to Indonesia. All other interviewees were given a detailed description of the footage showed.
• Rohan Sullivan’s complaint was dealt with last year by the ABC. Luke Bowen never made a formal complaint to the ABC about “his comments being taken out of context”.
• The 60 Minutes footage related to cattle in Egypt and was filmed more than a decade ago. This was made clear in the program and was used to introduce Lyn White and her ongoing activities representing Animals Australia.
• There was no footage in “A Bloody Business” of the abattoirs located in Taliwang, West Nusa Tengarra, Lombok and Terpadu, Bogar, West Java.
• It is normal film-making practice to shoot more material than what is shown in the final, edited product.
• The program acknowledged that Greg Pankhurst’s company had done much to encourage the acceptance of stunning in local abattoirs. In particular, the Z-Beef abattoir in Sumutra; an abattoir in Bandar Lumpung and two abattoirs in Medan. Since the program was broadcast, we understand that stunning is now more widespread.
• Four Corners does not have an agenda to ban live exports. Its job is to report on issues of public policy and interest and to present the facts in a fair and balanced way and this is exactly what “A Bloody Business” did. When the program was first broadcast, most of the live cattle export industry condemned the practices shown in the Indonesian abattoirs. The attitude changed once the Australian Government introduced its temporary ban on the trade.
In accordance with our procedures, Four Corners referred your complaint to Audience and Consumer Affairs; they will not be replying separately to you.
Accordingly, while noting your concerns, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied the broadcasts were in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for impartiality.
Thank you for taking the time to write; your feedback is appreciated.
For your reference, the ABC Code of Practice is available online at http://about.abc.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/CodeOfPractice2011.pdf
Should you be dissatisfied with this response to your complaint, you may be able to pursue your complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority, http://www.acma.gov.au .
Audience & Consumer Affairs