For Like minded people who like to see-
I am writing this discussion to follow on from Dale Stillers piece [A bloody business] which is getting long and complex. I hope to sum up the issue and look for possible solutions.
As a producer, animal nutritionist, animal lover and person of mixed heritage with a background in the true Muslim faith. I can only hope I can offer some advice and suggest ways of ending this madnes that has gripped a nation.
What I saw on 4 Corners that monday night shocked me deeply and left me speechless for some moments (not an easy feat I assure you). I recognised those eartags and I will never forget those howls! I questioned everything I could and I analysed what I had seen. I began to contact people I know right through th supply chain who have travelled to Indonesia with cattle, have seen the abattiors first hand and also relatives who have performed Halal kills. None of us could comprehend how something this bad could be so common, or so the footage led us to believe. The simple fact is it isnt that common and that fact alone can only be a comfort.
I then turned to the news and watched as the Australian public began a vicious and loud campaign to Ban Live Exports. This was the only solution offered in the cleverly constructed report. There were insults flying and the Government is being pushed to act quickly to calm the people. But I ask you will you sleep any better at night simply because the beast that dies like that is not Australian in origin? I wont.
What we saw was a failing in a few slaughterhouses that make up the final 10% of a beef steers journey through the system. So for all the people in both Australia and Indonesia who have invested their money and their lives into making animal welfare conditions better, the Government is pushed by public rage to say "Thanks for nothing?"
Im not condoning cruelty but I wish we hadnt forgotten about it in the current issue which has become poiltical and instead of being solved has escalated to what may lead to the biggest act of animal cruelty yet. Just because cattle are a commodity that can be sold doesnt meant their lives should be used as political pawns. Let to drift in the ocean as Australia has sold them and Indonesia doesnt want them. Does a truckie turn around and drive back again? Does the producer just shoot his/her stock he/she has invested both finacially and emtionally in?
Early in the story Australia had the unrivalled support of the Muslim community as they struggled to comprehend the process of Halal slaughter being likened to that barbaric cruelty. We still need those people to police their laws and to educate the slaughter men! We need people to understand that true Halal slaughter is calm, a prayer is said and blood is collected and not allowed to taint the meat. The animal must be calm, in perfect health and condition, certainly not wallowing in mess and being beaten.
MLA has made some mistakes but they have also been making slow progress. Lets not forget we are asking another nation to process a product, they have paid for, the way we want them too. We are asking people with different cultural views and socio economic circumstances to do things our way. When has this approach ever worked?
The media has forgotten to broadcast the people in Indonesia who do things correctly and who still manage to supply fresh meat to the wet market for the women to buy with a garuantee of freshness and being Halal. We need more of this to culturally educate both the Australian Public and Government.
If we Ban Live Exports from Australia, many of the family farms who rely on it in the North due to a complete lack of alternate markets wont be able to continue and will go broke. They will in turn stop supporting local towns and services which will fold. There will be more stress on our welfare system, thousands of animals will become worthless and be destroyed. Remember the Camels and BTEC? Is that a good sign for Activists and the Government? I hope not! Of course MLA has a 25 abattior plan and AACO has been slowly designing a slaughter house for the Top End. However if history is any indication of the future, then the serious lack of Government support over the last 20yrs isnt going to change over night. It will take longer than a week to build an abattior to take just the cattle standing on those boats at the moment, let alone the ones waiting in the paddock.
Australia is far from perfect and it is well known across SE Asia that people in glass houses shouldnt throw stones. The only way forward in my opinion is to discuss the matter with prominent Indonesian processors and design a plan to educate the slaughtermen in those 11 abattiors and supply the neccessary tools ( stun guns) for humane slaughter. People who ignore the training need to be removed from the industry. The media would do well to print both sides of the story, and people in general would do well to seek the full story before accusing our closest neighbour and client of widespread ignorance and barbarianism.
Overall we need to support the people who are doing the right thing, and who in turn are willing to make physical changes. If we stop trading with Indonesia we will no longer be in a position to see whats happening and to make suggestions and provide templates and support.
We export to 28 countries across the world. Lets not make them pay for a few peoples cruelty. This cruelty is not as common as the footage would have you believe but the flow on effects from a knee jerk reaction will be worse than anything seen on 4Corners.
Lets fix this problem sensibly and diplomatically and make a real difference to animal welfare standards not just a feel good, agenda based, politically rushed solution which will make no real difference to the cattle who die each night in Jakarta.
Replies are closed for this discussion.
We had better get used to it. What is happening here in Australia with regard to animal rights is happening around the world. In some areas we are lagging behind.
This one is such a tough one. It is also one that I admit I have always had some concerns about, and that is coming from someone who started milking cows by hand at about 10 years of age, because my Uncle 'didn't believe' machines were good for his cows on his dairy farm, so it wasn't just a couple of house cows.
Four or five adults would milk five or six cows each and we kids had our one or two quiet ones.
The cattle were different then, the herd was being graded to pedigree British Friesian and the steers made a reasonable beef animal, and the cows not in the grade programme were always mated (AI) to a beef breed. Early on that was usually Angus and then the European breeds came in. The steers were raised and then sold as feeders with a few of the best kept through to beef.
There was a calf trade, but from memory we always bucket fed all calves with their mother's colostrum, and those, which were sold, were at least 2 weeks old and quite strong before they went to market, 1 hour away.
Of course there was a veal market, there always has been, the difference as I see it is that nothing was wasted, animals had some real value in the food chain. I must admit I don't understand this 3 to 5 day slaughter business. It may be the most practical, but my goodness it opens up a very emotive story.
AA is now going to 'milk' this for all it is worth.
I don't believe milk consumption will decrease, what it may well show is that once again, as an industry we are poorly equipped when it comes to handling the animal welfare lobby.
We mustn't ever get used to it. We must stop it. It is the essence of evil.
There is a very simple way to stop it. Stop negotiating with them. Stop appeasing them, and giving them any credibility in any way. They don't care about animals. That should be well and truly easy for any sane person to see by now. These extortionist thugs only continue because we allow them to. We sanction it.
It may well be. But to meet the challenge 'Agriculture' needs to be organised, as well organised as those against us. That is, by our history, a challenge, which is beyond us.
For all the money that is paid to MLA, NFF and the like, you would think they would have a PR strategy for the industry.
Then there are the various Ministers in each State, half of them don't know what they are talking about, you probably disagree, well all right! All of them! Then there is the unmentionable one from Canberra.
You are right, but how?
Out of interest, ask your local library for a copy of Breaking the Sheep's Back - Charles Massy - ISBN 978-0-7022-3885-7
It will give you a good example of rampant agrarian socialism in Australia's biggest export industy, the wool industry, and how it was ruined by the agri politicians of the day who considered they were 'born to rule' when in reality they behaved as if they had had the capacity to see the patently bloody obvious removed from what little brain they had.
Agrarian socialism is alive and well, and while it is, we are ducks on the pond.
We are writing at the same time. I thought you had finished. Maybe you were reading my mind?
The trouble is AA et al have the ear of the media. They have worked on it and they have succeeded.
They are causing change, I won't enumerate as it will take us off topic, but they have and will continue to cause change in animal farming. But then again, these people have been around all of my farming life, the big difference these days is the the media in all its forms.
Just a plug, see my latest blog.