Letter regarding 4 Corners ‘A Bloody Business

Dated. 03.11.12.

Attention 4 Corners and Sarah Ferguson

It appears that yet again you wish to denigrate the live export industry with another program concerning the treatment of Australian animals sold to foreign countries.

ABC is a programme funded by taxpayers. Like many others in the live animal export industry I am a taxpayer and therefore my taxes help to fund the ABC. I would like to make some suggestions regarding potential stories you may wish to pursue and a couple of retractions that as a taxpayer I would appreciate being made.

  • At the Senate Inquiry, 14th September 2011, Sarah Ferguson admitted that interviewees were not shown the ‘A Bloody Business’ footage obtained in Indonesia prior to the interview. Sarah Ferguson only verbally explained the footage to the interviewees prior to the interview.

Please disclose publicly if it is standard practice when interviewing for a story you are filming to not show the interviewee the film footage that your questions are based on.


  • The animal shown in the 60Minutes footage shown on ‘A Bloody Business’ was not an Australian Animal and this was admitted by Sarah Ferguson at the Senate Inquiry, 14th September 2011.


Sarah Ferguson stated:

“It is a small error based on taking something from somebody else’s program and we can correct that easily”.


Unfortunately Australian viewers thought it was an Australian animal and continue to do so.

Please disclose this error publicly in ‘Another Bloody Business’ and make a retraction.

  • The footage filmed by Animals Australia was misleading: 
    • The abattoir located in Taliwang, West Nusa Tengarra, Lombok, had NEVER received Australian cattle and this was not clearly stated in your program.
    • The abattoir Terpadu, Bogar, West Java, had not received any Australian cattle since early 2011, it had no plans to use Australian cattle and it was unlikely that footage taken there showed Australian cattle.

Please disclose that this footage was misleading publicly in ‘Another Bloody Business’ and make a retraction.

Please also note that footage supplied by Animals Australia is not always what it is purported to depict.  The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries found that the ear tag in the animal shown in the ‘new’ Indonesian footage supplied to Lateline by Lyn White in January 2012 was in fact from an animal slaughtered some weeks before the footage was supposedly filmed. This was confirmed by ESCAS. Additionally footage purported to be from ECAS approved abattoirs was in fact not from approved abattoirs.

“Two abattoirs were not part of approved supply chains controlled by Australian exporters, nor were the animals seen in the footage sourced from Australia”.



  • In 2011 4Corners filmed in excess of 15 hours footage on Indonesian soil and in Indonesian abattoirs for ‘A bloody business’.  Approximately 15 ½ minutes of this footage was aired, with only 35 seconds shown of the ‘stunning’ process.


Vast improvements have been made in Indonesia abattoirs, slaughter houses and exporter supply lines. For example, footage from the Jalan Abattoir, Near Medan, Sumatra, showed a black steer trembling in a raceway before slaughter. This abattoirs lairage has now been altered to ensure improved handling, with water and feed available right up to point of slaughter. Improvements have also been made in regards to knocking boxes dependent on the form of stunning used. Some exporters have adopted a policy 100% stunning with their clients.


Therefore, in the ‘thoroughness of the journalistic effort’ (Sarah Ferguson, Senate Inquiry, 14.09.11) please return to Indonesia and film improvements made since June 2011. Please also publicly disclose and credit the improvements that had already been implemented by the industry prior to the Live Export Ban being put in place in June 2011.



  • 40% of the Indonesian population is involved with Agriculture in some way and the reductions in the animal import permits and loss of income in already poor rural areas has affected them adversely.


Please return to Indonesia and shoot a 4Corners exposé on the effect of the reduction of animal import permits and the loss of income on an already poor rural population. Please interview the Indonesian public and workers in the agriculture industry


  • ‘A Bloody Business’ has created a platform for political grandstanding by politicians and other public figures. Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon sponsored the Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill 2012. This bill would have a devastating impact on northern Australia. Recognising this, 25 questions regarding the effects of the proposed ban were posted on the Facebook page ‘Ban Live Exports Now’ created by Senator Rhiannon. These were posed to question Senator Rhiannon’s understanding of the consequences of a ban on animals, land, economics and people. Senator Lee Rhiannon has made a half-hearted attempt to answer the first 14 questions and to date, has refused to answer anymore.


  • Please visit northern Australia, and shoot a 4Corners exposé on the effect of a ban on live animal export. Please ensure the exposé covers all aspects of a potential ban, including the effect on animals, the land, economics and people, to ensure that the people of Australia gain a more in-depth understanding of this complex issue.


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