A friend who is working in Indonesia with Indonesian stockpeople is assisting in providing training, education, resources and advice to them to improve animal welfare outcomes. Part of her job is also to help ensure that ESCAS is complied with. I haven’t been to Indonesia to see these facilities for myself. Yet.
She has kindly supplied some of the photos in this article. The information in this article is also from other people who I have spoken to and live in Indonesia working in the cattle import industries. It is because of the direct involvement of these people and their commitment, including their employers that animal welfare in Indonesian slaughter houses has greatly improved and continue to as people practice their skills and refine their techniques. Irrefutably the people who have learnt better animal handling skills in their employment with these Australians have then used that knowledge to improve handling and health for their own small family herds and community herds that they may be involved in.
After unloading of the cattle from the boats, most cattle spend several months in the feedlots. There they will consume by-products of Agriculture that are great for fattening cattle. Indonesia has an abundance of high volume – low cost feeds suitable for this such as palm leaves and corn stalks. These items are placed in a chopper and then fed to the animals.
This is a group of people receiving animal handling training. It is imperative that when unloading a shipment of cattle with many thousands of animals that people are aware of the requirements and processes they must adhere to ensure efficency and compliance. This not only improves animal welfare but human safety as well.
The bunting feed trough in the feedlot. Water would also be available and the floors cleaned periodically. As most of these feedlots have cement floors a thick layer of sawdust is laid over the floors for comfort of the animals. When the yards are cleaned out the manure and floor covering is then used for fertiliser in plantations.
These men are receiving training on the maintenance and upkeep of a pneumatic stunner. The installation of these items is a great advancement for animal welfare. The simple act of the Indonesian people learning the repair and maintenance skills of this equipment themselves is an important aspect of animal welfare improvement
The animals head is in a head bail – the black frame around his neck and he is about to be stunned to be slaughtered.
Once stunned unconcious he will drop and as he does the side gate to the right will be opened, as soon as he rolls to the side his throat will be cut and he will be bled, at which point he dies. Each animal will have their individual RFID tag scanned and recorded to ensure the animals traceability.
This animal is also held in a head bail to be stunned, on which the person who’s hand is visible to the right will open up the door to allow the animals body to fall to the floor and have his throat cut.
This is an abattoir facility in Indonesia, after bleeding the animal is processed on the floor. Note the covered race-way so the animals can’t see what is ahead of them. This assists in keeping the animals as relaxed as possible. The Door that swings on the crush, above the ramp is also covered in to the bottom to stop any one from rope casting.
This is an Indonesian wet meat market. Many people prefer to buy their meat still warm to the touch and the meat hanging here would have only been killed a few hours before. The culture of the people who prefer wet markets believe the freshness of the meat is dictated by its warmth rather as opposed to our societies view that fresh is chilled.
Some Australian companies and others who are established in Indonesia have assisted Indonesian slaughterhouses to install stunners for their sole use in that abattoir in their supply lines. These facilities have also received assistance by Australian importers with lairages ( the yards through which the cattle move) and the boxes/head bails that the animals are placed in prior to stunning. Each full installation costs approximately $50,000 Australian dollars. Some exporters have a large number of abattoirs in their approved supply lines.
Locals have seen benefits in the use of the stunning equipment not only for animal welfare, the meat is not bruised or the animal isn’t stressed but for their own occupational health and safety. The efficency of some abattoirs has been greatly assisted by the stunners. To the point that Australian exporters are being asked to import more stunners to Indonesia to use in abattoirs that kill local cattle and not Australian cattle.
It is estimated that 98% of Australian animals are now pre-stunned prior to slaughter with some supply lines having 100% requirements for stunning of their own choosing.
Industry sources have quoted that an indirect employment ratio of 7 to 1 is due to Australian cattle imports. This includes people required to unload the ships, transport of cattle, feedlot staff, abattoirs, butchers and market labour such as people who may collect feedstuffs for consumption by the animals or are involved with the collection of the organic manure and yard waste. Indonesia has no welfare system, you don’t have a job there, then literally you don’t eat.
While importing slaughter animals Australians are also involved with breeding herd development in Indonesia. This sounds ironic that a country would want to help another breed up their herd rather than sell their own the realistic case is with Indonesia’s 240M population, topography and inaccessability of many islands the chance of it ever achieving self sufficency in beef herds is extremely remote. The Indonesian government also have a social policy that each company must help a community in some way, many importers of cattle do something with cattle to assist the local people, ie lending breeding cows, assisting with breeding programs and health problems of animals.
Some villages are totally reliant on the employment of a feedlot located in its area. It is estimated that 1M people in Indonesia were direcly affected when the Live export ban occured in 2011. With an average wage of $150 per month, some feedlots are estimated to support 100 families directly through employment which has flow on to another 700.