Indonesian abattoirs

ESCAS; the importance of pre-slaughter stunning of cattle prior to slaughter.

40 years ago in Australia, pre-stunning of cattle prior to slaughter, quite literally was a blow to the head, with a sledge hammer! Specialised equipment is now used to ensure stunning is maximised in effectiveness and safety for both animal and operator. I support continual improvement in animal welfare but this can only be achieved through learning, practice and research. I would prefer all Australian live cattle export markets did stunning prior to slaughter because in my view pre-stunning increases positive animal welfare outcomes, that mainly being minimization of stress and pain for each and every individual animal. There is absolutely no doubt that live export has had poor animal welfare incidents occur but it has also shown a history of significant animal welfare improvements prior to and after the implementation of ESCAS.The most important in my view for improvement in animal welfare in live export is pre-slaughter stunning. Pre-stunning is not an OIE standard but it is encouraged and strongly supported through ESCAS. All cattle slaughtered in Australia are required to be stunned pre-slaughter with provision for ritual slaughter is post-stunned.

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Stunning – What is it? Stunning is striking a very strong and specifically targeted blow to the forehead of an animal with the intention of it either being lethal or the animal loses consciousness. The brain moves back and forth inside the skull so fast and hard it collides with the skull disrupting the electrical function of the brain, like a reactionary shock, the brain reacts by shutting down and is unable to process of the stimulus of pain that it receives from nerves, the animal is unconscious. Stunning causes the animal to lose its sensibility or comprehension of what is going on around it. After being stunned the animal collapses, it is effectively ‘knocked out’. Stunning is done to prevent the feeling of pain or stress when actually slaughtered. After stunning the animals throat is cut to ensure death. Called thoracic sticking (targeting the brachycephalic trunk near the heart) or exsanguination (cut across the throat targeting main arteries and oesophagus). Once dead the animal’s meat is then processed for sale to consumers as beef.

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Where is stunning legally enforceable? Stunning is not a legal requirement in Australia but is required under standards of operation in Australian facilities. Australian Animal welfare cruelty laws are enforceable under the Animal welfare Act. These are statements of enforceable treatment of animals under a person(s) care or responsiblity. Standards and guidelines are established by Industry, they are not legislated or legal in themselves. Standards are ‘must do’ procedures whose intention is to establish clear principles that must be followed to improve and achieve animal welfare outcomes. Guidelines are simply as their name implies guidelines to best practice, they are referencing to specific circumstances and support the standards. While a standard is not law, failure to comply with it can be punishable by law under the Animal welfare Act.
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In regards to animals processed and the way they are slaughtered in Australia the Australian Standard (AS4696:2007) for slaughter of cattle in Australia states that “An animal that is stuck with, first being stunned and is not rendered unconscious as part of its ritual slaughter is stunned without delay after it is stuck to ensure that it is rendered unconscious”. Meaning that if a beast is not stunned immediately prior to having its throat cut then it must be done immediately after.

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In overseas countries to which Australian animals are processed, the Australian Standards export of Livestock (ASEL) cover the time an animal is sourced from the property of origin to the unloading at a port of delivery in another country, this is the sourcing, transport and delivery aspects of animals who are sold via live export markets. Breaches of ASEL come under the legislation of the Animal welfare Act, Exporter licensing, maritime and quarantine laws to which Australian laws have jurisdiction and reach. ASEL has been in effect since December 2004. The Exporter supply chain assurance system (ESCAS) framework is unique in that it is Australian standards applicable to Australian livestock within another countries legal capacity but is based on conformity to World Organisation for Animal health (OIE) recommendations. OIE do not stipulate a requirement of stunning in livestock slaughter. ESCAS has been in effect since July 2011 for some markets and January 2013 for all. ESCAS doesn’t stipulate stunning must be conducted but it does support its use.
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Prior to ESCAS in Indonesia 5 abattoirs conducted stunning on Australian cattle, they processed approximately 10-15% of the then animals sent to Indonesia. By the end of 2011 there were 70 abattoirs utilising stunning and accounted for 90% of Australian cattle slaughtered. By June 2013 90% of the abattoirs that processed Australian cattle use stunning, yet ESCAS does not make it mandatory that they do this. The implementation of stunning has led to faster and more efficient processing.

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Is stunning necessary? Stunning at slaughter has a number of purposes, the main one is to minimise stress to the animal. The aim is that an animal doesn’t know or feel any pain when its throat is cut. Stunning makes the animal more manageable and can in many cases increase the speed of death and efficiency of the killing of the animal. Minimising the animal movements and increasing handability significantly increases workers safety  because it is not struggling or panicking due to pain, stress or loss of blood. Handling factors prior to death can also affect meat quality due to hormones and adrenaline, a less stressed animal prior to slaughter has better quality meat cuts when processed, thus stunning can minimise the amount of stress hormones the animal may experience during death and achieve a more efficient death and better meat tenderness.

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Examples of stunning.

This is a short video available off the net in regards to non-penetrative stunning

This is a video released by the live export industry in relation to stunning equipment training and  used in facilities  that receive Australian cattle.

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Types of Stunning procedures. Pre Stunning is stunning of the animal before the throat cut and is most commonly used in Australia and overseas abattoirs receiving Australian cattle. Post stunning is done after the throat cut and is performed in Australia. No stunning at all prior or during slaughter is conducted in some overseas abattoirs receiving Australian cattle.

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In the 1970’s it was common in some Australian abattoirs to use a sledgehammer to pre-stun cattle, crude but effective! One solid wack and the animal was unconscious. Hand held devices or knockers have been used for many years now, they were not reliant on an outside power or generator source and as their name suggests, held with one hand, they were light and manuvable. The first installed knockers were literally modified nail guns, these were found to not have the necessary bolt action speed though and  heavier and stronger versions were developed, specifically built for the intended purpose of stunning stock. Guns were used in some facilities but recoil and OH &S was a significant problem, obviously a long range projectile capable of killing bystanders. Many facilities have a stand by knocker, years ago the gun was the standby, particularly for abattoirs that were remote or the animals unusually wild and difficult to manage. for example large bulls and buffalo.

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Prior to large pneumatic systems most knockers used a cartridge driven captive bolt, it was powered by blank cartridges with gunpowder, but no bullet. Heavier cartridges were used for heavier boned animals such as bulls. As Halal slaughter requires a ‘non-penetrating’ stun most of these devices  that did penetrate and were lethal were not suitable. Halal slaughter cattle in Australia were not pre-stunned until the mid-1980’s when electrical stunning and non-penetrative stunning was developed and implemented.

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There are mainly 2 forms of stunning, mechanical and electrical. In this post I’m looking at overseas markets in which mechanical methods are used. These are in 2 forms, captive bolt or a free projectile. A captive bolt stunner is a steel bolt that moves inside a barrel without being able to leave the barrel, it has a mushroom head that hits the skull. Propulsion is via electricity, gas, pneumatic (high pressure air) and cartridge (gun powder). A free projectile is like a bullet from a gun. Captive bolt in a fraction of a second transfers kinetic energy to the skull of the animal by striking its skull very hard and then retracts.  In some cases the stun can cause instant death, others are purposely ‘recoverable’.

1.1 Captive bolt stunning

Source – Beef Cattle Production and Trade. Cottle, Kahn 2014.

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A penetrative stun is where the bolt enters the skull and effectively brain kills the animal instantly, Non-penetrative doesn’t penetrate through the bone and is meant to be a recoverable concussion. The animal is instantly ‘knocked out’ but could theoretically recover if its throat isn’t cut after some period of time. The non-penetrative bolt system is the most commonly used in abattoirs that require Halal slaughter requirements, such as those in Indonesia.

1.2 Indonesia stunning.

Insert – Indonesian abattoir stunning equipment. The stunning equipment is hanging at the top left of the kill box that has its side door currently open.

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Under OIE standards pre stunning of cattle is not a pre requisite of animal welfare requirements. ESCAS is based on OIE. Irrespective of OIE, ESCAS handling guidelines do encourage pre-stunning of animals. Following the June 2011 live export ban the Australian government offered assistance on a 3:1 basis to fund and implement stunning in many facilities. Exporters had to invest $3 for every $1 that they received in grants. Many exporters invested far greater volumes of funds than the $3 to improve infrastructure, equipment and training of personal.

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Installation of stunning equipment was a significant problem in some Indonesian abattoirs due to lack of numbers of animals that they would process. For many who only processed a small number of animals such as 3-10 head the installation of a $20,000 piece of equipment, which is the value of many individual stunners was a significant cost consideration. The installation of stunning equipment was initiated in many ways by the exporters and through their influence has shown how it can initiate better management of cattle and increased safety of workers. Due to these benefits some exporters are assisting importing countries to install stunners for use in their own abattoirs for use on local cattle.

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I think most people would expect me to do my absolute best to look after the animals I have on our property, but recognise that I can’t give a guarantee that I can achieve good animal welfare 100% in every situation. I have similar expectations of exporters who export my cattle, I expect them to do their utmost best at all times, with animal welfare their paramount concern but realise that there will be times when not all animals will have good welfare experiences. Due sometimes to circumstances out of exporters control. I’m not saying these are acceptable reasons for compliance breach but they are going to occur and we need to have understanding how to minimise those occurrences to maximise the effectiveness of ESCAS. Increasing of stunning of cattle in which Australian sourced cattle are sourced for slaughter is a major step in improving animal welfare obligations of the exporters. I applaud those exporters who have taken the steps to ensure stunning is used in their supply chains.

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Training and education is the key to all ESCAS compliance. As animal welfare improvements have evolved and increased within Australia to the high standards we now expect, so will ESCAS. It is pro-active in the improvement and implementation of animal welfare for Australian cattle overseas. I support improvements to ESCAS which includes ability of exporters to be compliant to it by efficiency and cost reduction that will not affect animal welfare outcomes. There is absolutely no point in having a system so overly regulated that it is unable to be compliant in the paper-trial reporting if improvements can be made in these areas.

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Everyone needs money, I make mine producing cattle for their beef production, We choose to sell to live export because fundamentally, that is a financially better proposition than selling to Australian processors and has been the case for many northern producers over the 100 years of live export from Australia. We make the conscientious decision to  sell our cattle to supply chains that have stunning. This is not saying that those who supply lines that don’t use stunning are not ESCAS compliant, it is simply a personal preference of my husband and myself that we prefer our cattle to be stunned prior to slaughter.

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Can I prove that this occurs unequivocally to you? No!

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Have I followed my own cattle through an overseas abattoir? No!

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Therefore you simply have to take my word that every time we sell cattle I try to establish who is buying them, where they are going and ask about their destinations procedures. I then follow that with my own research and as best I can stay up to date on developments and issues surrounding live export of cattle. I do hope to travel overseas and see where our animals are processed for myself; but family and business commitments mean this is very difficult for me to do.

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Some Indonesian abattoirs were not killing efficiently or well that were filmed in late 2010 early 2011, the methods of roping and throat cutting that was conducted prior too, and up to that point were not acceptable. Those incidents highlighted then fell well short of acceptable animal welfare practices. There is no doubt that some animals I have sent in previous years to Indonesia would have had their throats cut without pre-stunning and suffered pain and stress because of poor handling and lack of skills prior to and during slaughter as they died. That saddens me as I know how quiet and well behaved most of our cattle are. My husband and I rate the manageability of our animals as one of our greatest assets, to know our animals were so poorly treated was and still is distressing.

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I aim to provide the future cattle we sell as assured of pre stunning before slaughter as a self imposed animal welfare requirement. Selling to Australian meat processors isn’t financially viable for us for the majority of our cattle sales; I will not destroy our business and families future over issues in live export based on past experiences which are fixable and controllable. I continue to supply cattle to live export because the exporter(s) we deal through strive to meet their obligations and requirements under the ESCAS system. While I see the short comings of the fact that one country (us) can’t regulate legislatively another due to sovereign rights, I believe ESCAS has proven that we can and do initate and promote then direct by implementation high animal welfare standards in other countries.

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There is absolutely no doubt we had to improve the welfare of Australian cattle slaughter processes in some supply chains in importing countries. ESCAS as implemented by the exporters has achieved those improvements. An animal has to die to be eaten, the process of the slaughter is what is significantly important, it must be efficient, effective and most of all induces minimal stress on the animal though obviously causing death.

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Improvements in animal welfare overseas has been by way of co-operation, learning and assistance, we have to keep persevering to improve animal welfare, we’ve lost markets, we’ve upset international relations, and we still have those in the industry that don’t think animal welfare is paramount all the way through a supply chain. Commendably most exporters have significantly improved animal welfare and proved it can be done consistently with long term and on-going results. Animal welfare processes were always adequate in some supply chains in others they were not. Point of slaughter was the main problem with most animal welfare issues, the shipping, transport, feedlotting and handling have always been of a high standard, slaughter through stunning has  significantly increased animal welfare for the animals now sent to live export.

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There are some within the industry that still don’t support ESCAS, they do see the animal as only a legal entity and at point of sale we no longer have responsibility for it in its entirety. That is wrong! While personally I may not be legally responsible for the animal in Australia once I have sold it. I expect that the people I sell to, will adhere to animal welfare standards and guidelines that are best practice for that animal through it entire life. In Live export I have the same expectation by the overarching standards is ASEL and ESCAS. I like the fact that there are now standards in place for exporters from the port of delivery to slaughter, there are guidelines, they know exactly what is required of them and as a producer I expect those requirements to be met. I support ESCAS, I support exporters who abide by ESCAS and believe those that do it well should receive recognition and congratulations for it. I support ESCAS improvements in both efficiency and report capability. ESCAS has to be useable to be most effective, that is a flowing cycle of planning, implementation and monitoring.

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I support significant and severe repercussions to be enforced on those who make repetitive critical breaches of compliance in the one supply chain in regards to ASEL and ESCAS. I believe ESCAS has moved beyond the learning initial implementation stage now, it is well understood and what its requirements are. I support the authorities to significantly fine and withdraw the licences of those exporters who do not show complete commitment to adherence and compliance. If they are given the chance to correct problems and don’t then they should be forcibly removed from that supply line.

I believe stunning has increased animal welfare outcomes for Australian animals even though it has not been a compulsory part of ESCAS, I don’t think it should be made compulsory but do believe it should be encouraged and supported.

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Categories: Agriculture laws, Beef Industry, Indonesian abattoirs, Live Exports, pre slaughter stunning, stunning in slaughter | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Agriculture Protection Laws

There has been a significant amount of media debate concerning the possible introduction into Australia of Agriculture protection laws (APL’s), or as opponents refer to, ‘Ag –gag laws’. Those opposed, view these laws in particular as targeting and restrictive of people who choose to undertake actions that most notably involve illegal entry of property to expose alleged animal cruelty.

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Increasingly what is currently happening in Australia is that Animal Activists (AA’s) target a site they feel is not meeting animal welfare standards. They enter a property, sometimes under false pretences, usually as break and enter. Search, record and on occasion cause malicious damage to infrastructure including intentional spread of disease. Animals are then filmed in various situations involving housing, slaughter and treatment. Some filmed in poor visibility at night and by people with flash lights. Obtained film is then distributed as video, film, stills or information as they see fit, when they want and with information that they see as suited to the situation they wish to portray. Most notably footage release may be targeted at a high consumption point of the year but long after the film was made.

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What AA’s think the APL’s will do is completely stop the ability of them to release footage of what they regard as animal cruelty which is basically what the American rulings have done.  I think the US versions are too stringent but I do think adaption could be used in Australia.

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An Australian friend has looked at the US laws extensively and I think has come up with a more relevant version to Australia that doesn’t prevent the use of the footage but certainly makes the AA’s more accountable for their actions in regards to authenticity, accuracy and release of footage. I have added my own take on  disclosure to the owners property that was filmed including ability of owner to refute information.

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Social media has become the court house and  AA’s have proclaimed themselves as judge jury and executioner of the producer in the public arena. Using footage to  incite outrage and reaction from mostly the general public, who in turn are asked to pressure government and law makers to act against the animal property owner by implementation of supposed better animal welfare laws or abolition of the animal use all together. The footage’s usual intention is to incite hate and repulsion and thus detrimentally affect market sales of that properties or related industry animal product. Through repulsion, emotion and often outright mis-information by the AA’s, the industry targeted then suffers as a consequence either through direct loss of income or the problems directly caused by the AA’s.

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It is sometimes many months after the event of a media wave that the facts of the film in regards to what was happening, why, where and who were involved actually comes to light and sometimes, I’m not saying all but definitely sometimes is shown to be intentionally misleading and outright propaganda.

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From the producers point of view a major concern is bio security, but it is also control of information and image and a chance to have a fair say when directly attacked. The right to know when they are being slandered and the right of reply. In my view the APL’s could make it legally equitable in disputes of animal cruelty that the producer at least has a chance to explain their situation and reasoning of what the film depicts at the same time as it is released because it will be illegal to withhold it longer than 48 hours without notification to the owner and authorities.

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Currently it is quiet legal to openly place photographic images advertised as animal cruelty, poor animal welfare, poor animal standards or outright neglect and mis treatment. These images need no details of who, when or where they were taken and many times these aren’t provided even when investigated further by a viewer on social media. The intended purpose of the visual, is to lead the audience to always assume they are viewing Australian animals and think what they see is a fair representation of how Australian animals are treated overall.

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Many images provided by AA’s are undated, without source names, often not even proving that they have been filmed at a site. Usually the recorder is anonymous. Some blatantly promote their business as animal expose and earn money  through their escapades. So the attacks on the producer come from many and varied sources but the initial antagonist, the trespass person or persons generally remain completely anonymous.

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More often than not the animal producer faces intense hostile assault from other AA’s including large organisations most notably on social media as to their business attributes and again the images are used as if that is what the whole of that industry represents. Personal attacks are very common against the producer and their families including children through social media and many sites allow these comments to remain visible as it feeds the hate and outrage. This is how things get so out of hand and beyond control.

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The interesting thing about some of the claims attackers of the producer make is that ‘the consumer has a right to know or they as the consumer have the right to dictate animal husbandry practices’. Ironically most of these people conducting trespass invasions are vegetarian or vegan and don’t actually consume or use the products from the industry they attack, so they aren’t consumers.

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Some AA’s may own or produce livestock for their economic survival, usually not though as many are fundamentally against animal production for food. Many actively work in and solicit donations for animal shelters they are involved with. Most are definitely concerned members of the public but how informed, representative or even knowledgeable of animal welfare practices and their purposes would vary from very informed and experienced in animal care to absolutely not having any idea of animal behaviour or practices at all.

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I am very wary of the phrase ‘social licence’ when used as description of the supposed general public view of animal production. When given a choice based on economics many of the buying public won’t actually pay extra for the improved animal welfare standards that they perceive are required. Instead buying imported products that don’t come even close to Australian welfare standards. Therefore at what point as a producer do I take their social licence prejudices seriously when they don’t practice what they preach when it comes to the act of actually paying at the checkout!

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As a producer we can explain, if people don’t accept that some practices are absolutely necessary, then that’s just the way it is, don’t eat our product. But if people don’t accept our business operations it doesn’t give them the right to invade and destroy our business because they don’t agree with consumption of animals.

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I have no doubt it is only a matter of time before an activist or producer is killed due to a property invasion. At the least massive disease across some animal industries will occur. If some tighter regulations are not put in place soon the AA’s will simply become more brazen and the producers more angry. Something will give.

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The APL’s in the US currently do and could be moulded to suit Australia, not to stifle animal activities but to filter those who have genuine intent animal welfare improvement from those who are simply economic terrorists with criminal malicious intent. APL’s are a possible way to hold AA’s legally accountable by ensuring that if an event of animal cruelty is recorded it is a recognised obligation by the recorder, for that information to be passed to relevant authorities quickly and unedited in a set time frame of 48 hours. With the provision that footage be not allowed on any public media format until at the least handed to authorities and the animal producer targeted allowed first viewing and 24 hours to consider it and mount a defence.

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Once footage is handed to authorities it is then the responsibility of  them to  act in a responsible and legal way. Once viewed by the accused then the AA’s can do what ever they like with their film and if so choosing could splash animal images of alleged cruelty where ever they liked. The point being that the producer has a fair and equitable chance of also instigating their own media commentary on the footage and saying what they think is relevant.

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If  footage is not backed up by a declaration by a real person as the recorder, as named and verified then the footage would be illegal to use on any media at all.

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Let the general public decide who they wish to listen too, but at least allow the opportunity to the public decide to investigate the other side of a story to be able make an informed decision. If the producers view is available then they may just see two sides of the story and not only the one as they are most commonly presented with at the moment.

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Where the American’s differ in their aspect of APL’s is they are saying any footage is never allowed to be publicly aired. I’m, not saying that at all. I don’t think all animal producers are good but then I don’t think all AA’s work with best intentions of improving animal welfare either.

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Under APL’s if an act is deemed as maliciously cruel as opposed to husbandry practice, determined by experts in the field, then the person or people who presented the original unedited footage would not face prosecution under law rulings irrespective if the initial property invasion was normally deemed illegal.

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Importantly those who withhold footage, and promote without handing to authorities including those that support that promotion, should face the full force of the law for their trespass and intentional damages actions. For organisations this should be harsh monetary fines, for individuals with little or no assets this should be restraining orders and jail time.

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If AA’s get it wrong and they make wrongful accusations that have been publically displayed as animal cruelty then they must personally face and be prepared to accept serious remedy consequences payable to the producer they wrongly accused. They have responsibility of duty when entering animal properties and at the moment AA’s rarely acknowledge this, particularly in respect of bio security including ironically animal welfare itself through the stress their actions may cause

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The APL’s are intended to enforce the witnessing of malicious cruelty as an obligation to report the recorded activity, so that animal cruelty can be stopped for the purpose of improving animal welfare. Not for the footage to be used for the gain of an Animal activists ego and advertising of campaigns for financial donation collection.
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Another aspect of the legislation is that groups opposed to animal farming or other aspects of agriculture can’t impose legislation or regulations that are not scientifically based on fact and significant research. This is the right to conduct Agriculture it is about protecting agriculture as the right to conduct animal breeding, raising and use of animals as acknowledged in any legitimate business.

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APL’s as could be adapted to Australian laws are not intended to stop genuine animal cruelty exposes or provide coverage to poorly operated animal producers they are meant to make the AA’s more accountable. If AA’s wants to make serious accusations of malicious cruelty to animals then they better be sure they are accurate and genuine in their revelations of it and not as what is happening at the moment where many are just economic terrorists on ego trips.

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Agricultural protection laws are about recognition of responsibility of animal activists and fairness for production owners including the health safety of their animals they are not about hiding practices and diminishing animal welfare.

Categories: Advocacy, Agriculture laws, Animal Welfare, Animals Australia, Beef Industry, Cattle work, Indonesian abattoirs, Legislation, Live Exports, Politicians, Property operations, Sheep industry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I owe an apology to Animals Australia.

I made a comment on the following newspaper article

‘Vet threatened, say activists’ Stock and Land 07.04.2014

My comment was
“When do any of Animals Australia’s so called informants ever appear before DAFF to back up their so called evidence. Feb 2012 Indo Footage was proven false. Giles abattoir woman never supported her own evidence, Gaza tapes were sourced from internet via you tube stating they used Animals Australia supplied camera’s”

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I made  another comment following others asking for my evidence in which I arrogantly stated  ‘I never say what I can’t back up’.

I owe an apology to Animals Australia regarding the abattoir as going back over my notes I don’t have direct evidence to back up that Sarah Lynch didn’t actually front the Primesafe investigation. For that accusation I do apologise.

I am extremely weary of any animal cruelty film clips that have the ability to be used as evidence when undated, unverified and usually unsupported by the person who was actually doing the filming. I am not denying there hasn’t been terrible cruelty filmed and many are Australian animals shown but I don’t believe all the footage presented are always supplied unedited to authorities, are all Australian animals or even recent incidences. Not to mention circumstances that surround the incidences of filming to explain people and animal actions.

In regards to ESCAS it is not a kangaroo court and Animals Australia are not judge, prosecuter and jury. They are an animal liberation group who are intent on stoppage of all animal livestock production systems.

What I had based my opinion on regarding the Trafalgar abattoir (Victoria) was that the prosecution of cruelty had failed against the owners due to charges dropped with no explanation of the reasons to the owners. Workers had been charged with cruelty. My recall was that Animals Australia presented the evidence to primesafe not Sarah Lynch, an exert of the article I had mis-interpreted is as follows.

Piggy in middle_edited-1Source – ‘Piggy in the middle’ The Australian 22.03.12

In regards to The West Java Indonesian footage in early 2013 – the informants who presented this information did not appear before the then DAFF investigation at all. This was an investigation that occured following claims of cruelty at an Indonesian abattoir in which the informant supplied information to Animals Australia which was used to pursue a complaint against the exporters for breach of ESCAS.
The basis of the evidence revolved around supply of eartags by Animals Australia that allegedly proved the animals time of death, they didn’t. The exporter proved the eartag was from an animal slaughtered some weeks prior to the informants film event taking place.

The DAFF report Allegations of breach of Exporter Suppy Chain Assurance system is linked here West Java Feb 2013.

The annex 4 regarding the eartag incident is here annex4-investigation-report-ile-abattoir4

Failure of informants to appear before DAFF is noted on page 2

Indo - non appearance of informant_edited-1Source – DAFF West Java Feb 2013

Again mention was made that informants were not prepared to support their information supplied to Animals Australia on page 3

Indo footage #2_edited-1Yet Animals Australia used unsubstantiated person or persons and ‘so called’ evidence that they simply took on face value from an informant that was actually proved wrong.

Indo footage_edited-1Source – Annex 4, Page 7

People wonder why DAFF take so long to undergo investigations, I would assume much of their time is spent just trying to verify who and what is being filmed.

In a Kuwait 2012 DAFF report Animals Australia supplied still photos and two film footages, one 45 seconds long the other 42 seconds. Neither film could identify the sheep, infact an exporter claimed they weren’t even Australian Sheep, highly likely Awassi. Another exporter had already self notified of a breach of ESCAS having reclaimed lost sheep and corrected the problem. Animals Australia vigilantly exposes are not helping animal welfare they are slowing it down because they are wasting valuable time and resources that could be better spent on direct positive animal welfare outcomes.

It is well known most of the Gaza cattle footage presented December 2013 was from youtubes. Considering anyone can do a youtube and anyone can edit and modify I would have liked to have seen a lot more verification of where and when these videos were filmed. Animals Australia was credited by a supporter as having supplied some of the phones for use to film animals being treated cruelly, the following screen shot I took in December 2013. I believe it has now been removed from the following link Facebook link to Gaza footage

#4 23.12.13_edited-1Source – Screen shot of information attached to Gaza files Animals Australia footage taken December 2013.

Again I apologise for not having the evidence to back up for all that I had originally stated. But reading the DAFF report of the Egyptian vet that is referred to the original Stock and Land article and his questionable conflict of business interests. The forgotten irony is that Animals Australia actually supported the closed loop system in Egypt that was in place prior to ESCAS. Lyn White even claims Animals Australia proposed it in her appearance before the senate inquiry of live export welfare standards in August 2011.

 

Categories: AA Financials, Advocacy, Animal Australia investigations, Animal Welfare, Animals Australia, Beef Industry, Indonesian abattoirs, Live Exports, Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working with Indonesia

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.

IMG-20111115-00090_edited-1 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.

Indo feedlot _edited-1The 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.

P1000909_edited-1These 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

7 Time of stun (2)_edited-1The 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis 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.

7 Processing 2_edited-1This 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.

Indo meat market 136_edited-1This 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.

Categories: #hadagutful campaign support, Advocacy, Animal Welfare, Beef Industry, Indonesian abattoirs, Live Exports, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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