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Live export industry’s hypocrisy on animal activists

While Meat and Livestock Australia is emerging as the focus of cattle industry anger over the mishandling of the live export issue, a key industry review two years ago dismissed concerns about live exports to Indonesia as the work of “animal activists” trying to “turn the community against” live cattle exports to Indonesia. The review also proposed to reduce the proportion of levy funds directed at animal welfare.

The Meat and Livestock Association is another example of the growing Australian phenomenon of hybrid industries. The MLA is a corporation funded by a levy on cattle sales to undertake marketing, expand demand for beef and coordinate industry issues. It also funds research on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the federal government.

The MLA thus isn’t a government body, but it holds its position by virtue of government regulation. In addition to half-and-half research funds, the cattle transaction levy — until 1991 it was a “slaughter levy” — is collected by the Department of Finance and passed on to the MLA, for a charge of $900,000 a year. A separate body, LiveCorp, which works closely with MLA, also charges a live export levy, and oversees the handling of cattle, sheep and goats onto, aboard and off ships, but apparently not the slaughtering of live exports overseas.

The MLA’s levy is where the “Beef Marketing Funding Committee” comes in.

In 2005, the Howard Government approved an increase in the levy from $3.50 per head to $5.00 for additional beef marketing, but only temporarily. After five years, a review was to be conducted and if industry did not support the continuation of the increase, it would revert to $3.50.

A committee was formed of industry heavyweights, chaired by Queensland cattle baron Peter Hughes (who complained recently that the 4 Corners report was biased). It reported in May 2009. By that time, as we now know, the industry had been aware of, and notionally seeking to address, the conditions of slaughter of live export cattle for nearly a decade.

The report recommended that the higher levy be retained, and provided an extended SWOT analysis of the cattle industry, including the live export industry, and its markets. Bear in mind, this was a report by the industry’s leaders — listed on page 4 of the report — and not by the MLA or Livecorp.

On live exports, the report notes that 75% of all live cattle exports go to Indonesia and plainly sees Indonesia as the key growth market for live exports, because Malaysia and the Philippines are contracting markets. The report lays out a strategy for expanding marketing in Indonesia to drive increased demand for Australian beef.

And amongst “Threats”, the report identifies “Continued campaigns by animal activists to stop the livestock export trade”, and its response is:

Despite 99 .9% of all cattle exported arriving fit and healthy at their destination in recent years, animal activists who oppose the export of livestock continue to carry out public relation campaigns designed to turn the community against the trade. The current industry strategy to improve community awareness and support for the Australian livestock export trade will need to be continued . The current strategy aims to use media and events such as Royal Shows to inform and demonstrate to the community the systems and practices in place to provide high levels of care for cattle exported.

The report also outlines an indicative budget for live exports markets: it proposes to keep funding for “improving welfare standards” at $186,000 pa, keep “community support” at $725,000 pa, but boost market development activities from over $900,000 to over $1m pa.

The view of the industry that animal welfare was a significantly lower priority than growing markets and was merely an issue being pushed by “animal activists” is confirmed by another, independent report on the levy increase, commissioned by the Committee and the MLA, by consultants Warwick Yates and Assoc and Econsearch (interestingly, the report concludes Indonesia only makes up half of live exports).

In much more detail than the Committee’s report, the consultants delve into the issue of community concern about the welfare of live exports and — declare victory. The report details how the industry significantly ramped up its funding for a “community concern program”, a marketing campaigned aimed at assuring people the cattle industry was humane.

Between 2004-05 and 2008-09, funding for the live export component of the community concern program more than doubled to $725,000, far more than the amounts being spend “improving welfare standards” in Indonesia.

All livestock industries are coming under increasing scrutiny by some sections of the community and media, particularly around issues of animal welfare and the environment. The beef industry can be proud of its record in these areas and also of the work currently being undertaken to improve both animal welfare and environment issues. It is important that the community is engaged and informed of the facts on these issues so that they can take pride in the work done by Australia’s beef industry.

The report goes through in great detail all aspects of the “community concern program”, from advertising to the use of Royal Shows to media management. Using an array of metrics, the consultants conclude:

The Community Concern Program has been successful as a proactive tool to counter and moderate public opinion previously shaped by those opposed to the live export industry, and to underpin the community’s trust in the beef industry. This program is an essential adjunct to the Live Export Program and should continue to counter animal rights activist rhetoric with facts about the live export industry. As focus intensifies on the management of natural resources and concerns for animal welfare grow, it will be increasingly important to not only address these issues but also to continue to tell the broader story of integrity behind the beef industry.

In short, concerns about animal welfare in the live export trade were regarded by the industry as a simple marketing problem — “animal rights activist rhetoric” that needed to be countered by advertising, soft-soap media stories and Royal Shows.

Attempts by some in the industry to shift the blame onto the MLA might be partly justified, but the evidence shows the entire industry was responsible for an attitude that regarded the solution to animal welfare concerns as more money for PR consultants.


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  • 1
    Dean Moriarty's Ghost
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    There is almost no doubt that the suspension of the trade will cause hardship for northern cattle producers who will have to find money for dry season feed, transport and so on. Their cash flows will be badly affected.

    But what they shouldn’t expect is for government to foot the bill.

    MLA, Livecorp and all the other arms of the industry associated with the live cattle trade have known about conditions in Indonesia for years. What the industry did in the face of this knowledge was to gamble that public opinion would never catch up with them. Well, they gambled and they lost. Like any other gambler that loses, they will have to pay up.

    And if the producers find it difficult to get waht they are owed by way of compensation and financial assistance from MLA and Livecorp, they can do what any other creditor would do. Seek appointment of receivers so that the proceeds from asset sales can be used to meet MLA’s and Livecorp’s obligations.

  • 2
    davidk
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I saw the head MLA person, Don Heatley on News Breakfast this morning and his attitude seemed to be that the gov’ts actions in suspending the trade are unresonable and the MLA has in no way acted improperly. They had spent $4,000,000 over several years to improve things in Indonesia. Given Bob Katter says they get 60 to 70 million pa in levies you would think they had the capacity to do their job properly. Apparently not.

  • 3
    Jim Reiher
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Like most Aussies, I found this whole story horrid and tragic. No normal person can stand by and accept cruelty to animals. It is (in my subjective opinion) a less than fully human response, to other living creatures.

    But I have to add something: I find this whole horrible story a really good advertisment for vegetarianism. I am not one, (yet … though thinking very seriously about becoming one now), but I find it somewhat strange that we hear how people are so sad at the hitting and kicking of our cattle, before they are killed. I hate the idea that they were treated in a cruel way too, but think about what we are saying: it is still okay to kill them, to use giant knives to slice their flesh off their dead bodies, and then to cut that up and sell it and eat it. All that is okay so long as we kill them with as little pain as possible.

    I appreciate the “limited” compassion argument; kill and eat, just dont hurt them first…. but really… the vegetarians out there must be thinking: you meat eaters are sufferring from some kind of logic breakdown: you say you care… but your care stops short of your eating habits, or your economic self-interest. You say you care: so long as they dont have too much pain, you can kill them and eat them. Healthy young animals that would live for years, killed for your eating pleasure. Yep… you care? …. sure….

  • 4
    nicolino
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Of course Barnaby Joyce is out there saying that we shouldn’t offend the Indonesians in this matter. Well Barnaby, the Indonesians offend me or is that un-Australian of me?

  • 5
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think that having a PR campaign to counter the influence of activists is bad in and of itself. Maybe if it was relied upon exclusively without trying to influence the Indonesian customer base as to how the animals should be treated…

    Certainly climate scientists could do with the support of a decent PR program to counter denialist activists.

    But I thought the issue was not the treatment of animals in transit but the treatment of animals in Indonesia? I think that the PR campaign didn’t have much to do with what we saw on Four Corners but perhaps some live export issues relating to the treatment of animals in transit. I vaguely recall hearing something about sheep exported to Arabia that were not in the best of condition on arrival.

  • 6
    David Allen
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    @Dean Moriarty’s Ghost

    I’m not a lawyer but it seems to me that if the officers of MLA and Livecorp can be shown to have been negligent in complying with their organisations’ charter then they may have some personal liability for losses.

  • 7
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    The MLA has failed its members, failed us all. If anyone gets compensation for lost earnings from this disgraceful business it should be the industry (the MLA) that pays it - not the taxpayer.

    I live in a cattle town - not live exporters but still practical cattle people - everyone I spoke to here said they were horrified by what they saw on 4 corners.

    All the characters - but particularly the MLA - should be thoroughly ashamed. They should all resign immediately.

  • 8
    Modus Ponens
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    What crappy PR they received too! They were “yes men” telling the industry what they wanted to hear.

    The political risk was always sitting there waiting to happen and they instead spent more money on marketing themselves.

    Don’t fix the problem, fix the image.” That PR company must get a steady stream of government contracts….

  • 9
    david
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    The Indonesians attitude to animals generally is disgraceful. Wander through the streets of that so called paradise Bali and there are dogs aplenty, starving, flea ridden and God knows what else. Despite the authorities best efforts to destroy as many strays as possible, so as not to offend the lucrative tourists by having the miserable animals on display in every street and on every beach, it is impossible to put them all down. Indonesians are not alone in Asia with this cruel attitude generally to animals, but they are who we are currently concerned with. Not another cent of mine will be heading their way.

  • 10
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Wander through the streets of that so called paradise Bali and there are dogs aplenty, starving, flea ridden and God knows what else.”

    Those would be the Aussie footy players there on holiday.

  • 11
    Hochfelden
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Apparently Paul McCartney is reported to have once said : “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

    I have a feeling that a hell of a lot of Australians have realized for the first time this week that those lovely doe eyed creatures that they know as dairy cows and beef cattle finish up as great slabs of red meat in Coles and Woolworths.

    Although Australian slaughterhouses are probably less cruel than some overseas, they are still where animals are put to death. If we all ate 50% less meat than we do now, we would all be 100% healthier than we are at present.

  • 12
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    You have to wonder, with so much at risk, how much of this “refresher” training curriculum is going to be devoted to “Handling the Media (or anyone else with a camera) - DO NOT TOUCH!”?

  • 13
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    How much of this industry is down to “costs of processing” and “no unions”?

  • 14
    cdeverist
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    is bernard’s article about live trade or overseas slaughter? whilst the issues are linked, they are different and people should remember that

  • 15
    Quizzical
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    The AWB all over again.
    So we stop the export, the industry and our economy suffers - and the indons get cattle from elsewhere and keep the cruelty going at the same rate as now.
    Emotive driven politics - nothing like it. Ah well, I guess we are giving uni students some interesting thesis material in 50 years time on the generation that became so correct … it went wrong!
    Now, I must off to feed the battery hens and calves humanely :-)

  • 16
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Geeez quizzical, it’s not about being correct mate… it’s about turning a blind eye to serious and unnecessary cruelty in order for a few squillionaires up north to make a fast quid.
    Klewso (above) hits the nail on the head… this was all about cutting costs and getting the “processing” done off-shore.
    And they knew all about it. They have known for 18 years. And they spent most of their budget on masaging the image rather than improving the operation. Shameful.
    Any resumption of live trade should involve random (videotaped) visits by Animal Welfare agencies.
    But preferably, we should do the slaughterinmg here and export frozen product. Might get a few jobs out of it.
    Nothing wrong with emotion driven politics - it’s about values, right and wrong and limiting the greed of unscrupulous operators. What else should we consider?

  • 17
    Mort
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    100% MLA & Livecorps stuff up and they should pay any compensation. ‘
    All the money channeled to marketing is a total write off now their inaction has totally stuff the “brand’.
    God knows they have spent the last 20years with their heads up their butts, only a jolt by national media got them to pull out enough to get a glimpse of sunlight.

    What’s a bet the bulk of their action on animal welfare will be to tighten security around slaughter houses so no one can film what actually goes on. Don’t trust them one bit.

  • 18
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    (Of course that’s the “MLA Training (in)”, and “the (Indonesian) live cattle export industry”.)

    As for “our own slaughtering”, at least our export sheds/plants have vets and meat inspectors looking after animal welfare too.

  • 19
    Peter Evans
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Move along, nothing new to see here. Just the usual colonial mentality from a rich country to a poor one. How dare those fine Aussie cattle get treated like those flea-bit Indonesian cattle. Appalling!

    And it’s got nothing to do with notion that meat-eating is a status symbol the world over. Of course not! And we dare not question that massive rise in beef eating the world over, and it’s catastrophic environmental consequences as _the_ most inefficient form of protein agriculture you could think of.

  • 20
    Quizzical
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    @ Peter
    But Peter we turn a blind eye to our own cruelty here - battery hens being one.

    My point remains - what have we achieved about INDONESIA and cruelty - they will source from elsewhere and business as usual. End result - economic loss for Oz, no gain for animal welfare.

    As earlier poster Jim Reiher so aptly put it in his local newspaper this week (albeit about carbon trading) “We can have no moral ground to stand on if we ask others to do what we are not prepared to do ourselves”.

    Now, I must away again and prod a few cattle with my electric prod - ouch - to get them to move nearer their slaughter :-)

    Also remember there’s a lot of Oz jobs hinging on cattle and that’s jobs for scrupulous hard workers. Targeting the “greed of unscrupulous operators” is more emotive politics.

  • 21
    Quizzical
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Apology Peter E I didn’t see your post - note mine was to Peter O.

  • 22
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Quizz,

    Yes the whole business of using animals for food in factories raises some ugliness, that doesn’t particularly concern me here. But Quizz, I don’t reckon you’d be wandering off to the chook shed and breaking their legs, sawing into their throats with a blunt knife and deliberately and callously abusing them which were among the barbarities revealed on 4 corners.
    Like I said above, I come from a cattle town, and no one had a good word in defence of that business. The farmers were probably more upset than anyone else actually.
    Even John the local butcher couldn’t watch.

  • 23
    Barry 09
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Somebody should stick a camera in Country Choice Killing shed at Brisbane . No Union awards and people told to not to talk about wages to the “Imported workers “.Cows running though floor AFTER hit with BOLT-GUN . My friend (Farmer ) was there for a while , working in the yards and moving them in. Cheap Labour and no experience .

  • 24
    Quizzical
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Peter O
    Agree but as Peter E hinted with the ‘colonial mentality’ this is us imposing our beliefs on the indonesians who are a different culture with different values.
    Their treatment is different of liberty, bribery, females, life values, poverty, religion, and on and on.
    For the vegetarians have a think about how many Viets suffer cancer through working with cashews - the shells - (and the 1.5M indons per annum that die through liver cancer caused through aflotoxin from peanuts).
    I’m not certain all those rabbits I shot in the Wimmera/Mallee went easily, nor the foxes for the ear levy. The yabbies in boiling water … hey, how do Ozzies cook crays after all?
    But I cease rambling and come back to my basic point - the same number of cattle will just receive the same horrible fate - it’s just that they will be sourced away from our economy.
    So, really, we haven’t done anything to reduce the painful slaughter - just sent the $ to another country.
    Certainly everyone is upset - but we have not solved the underlying problem!

  • 25
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, while ever we continue to eat meat (even “50% less”), until someone invents a way of producing it without killing the animal first, we are “stuck” with this “process”.
    Until then all we can do is alleviate their suffering in it - by rendering them unconscious first.

    (Barry, you’ve never been to ACC?)

  • 26
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    There may well be cultural differences Quizz, the blokes interviewed on 4 corners were excusing their cruelty saying it was Halal, as per the Quran’s instruction. That is completely false and most sinful to a half decent muslim. But even if the vast majority of Indonesians find such cruelty acceptable (which I doubt) that’s still no reason for these fellas up North to be making a quid out of it. Seems like it’s not just our lot that can manufacture excuses.
    Speaking of moral dilemmas, here’s one you might enjoy. I have a couple of very nice Vegan neighbours. They have a very nice little dog. They feed her lentils, and muesli and rice and mung beans. Every chance she gets she’s over at my place cadging a bowl of chum or a bone with my dog. She now comes every day. I’ve shown them her teeth and pointed out that fangs like that are not designed for tearing lentils to bits. After a prolonged hunger strike, they’ve started giving her the odd dog biscuit. I guess they think you have to be cruel to be kind.

  • 27
    captious
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    On the issue of MLA and LiveCorp, their roles in this need to be much more in the public’s face than they currently are. Agree also with others above it shold be MLA & LiveCorp who are responsible for compensating losses by ranchers.

    @ quizzical
    Agree but as Peter E hinted with the ‘colonial mentality’ this is us imposing our beliefs on the indonesians who are a different culture with different values

    It’s stuff all to do with “colonial” attitudes and everything to do with treating animals humanely. It’s completely irrelevant whether it’s Indonesians, Saudis, Kiwis or the English treating live animals this way, it’s abhorrent, period.

    For the vegetarians have a think about how many Viets suffer cancer through working with cashews - the shells - (and the 1.5M indons per annum that die through liver cancer caused through aflotoxin from peanuts)

    So only vegetarians eat cashew nuts? Even if this absurd point were true wtf has it to do with the humane treatment of live cattle?

    But I cease rambling and come back to my basic point - the same number of cattle will just receive the same horrible fate - it’s just that they will be sourced away from our economy

    Then it’s about time the 4 Corners film (or an equivalent) was shown in all other countries that send live cattle to Indonesia for slaughter, and all the info on the complicity of governments and industry bodies. It can’t be that hard, and after all I thought one of the biggest selling points of the internetz (particularly youtube, facebook, myspace etc) was its ability to spread information rapidly across the globe.

  • 28
    captious
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    @ Peter O
    I have a couple of very nice Vegan neighbours. They have a very nice little dog. They feed her lentils, and muesli and rice and mung beans. Every chance she gets she’s over at my place cadging a bowl of chum or a bone with my dog

    Dogs are omnivores and need certain vitamins and elements in their diet. If your vegan friends keep this daft diet up they ought to be reminded that they are being cruel to their dog simply by malnourishing it. I can sort of understand them wanting to uphold their vegan principles in all aspects of their lives, but they have to face up to the consequences: either have a dog and feed it properly (i.e occasional dead animal) or don’t have a dog at all.

  • 29
    Frank Birchall
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Quizzzical
    You raise some good points about double standards, hypocrisy and animal rights in general. All of these should be debated and, where possible, people can decide for themselves what to do. However, I make the following responses to your points:
    1. Indonesians have different cultures with different values: whether or not they are so different as to generally accept cruel and barbaric treatment of cattle is doubtful. In any event, this ‘principle’ cannot be sufficient justification otherwise we would turn a blind eye to Indonesian treatment of East Timorese, the Hutu slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda and Serb murder of Muslim men and boys in Bosnia; as well as Japanese whale hunting and dolphin killing. Four hundred years ago we burnt people at the stake; that was acceptable then, we are more enlightened now.
    2. Rabbits, foxes, yabbies etc: the fact that you did what you say doesn’t make it right. In any case, none of those creatures should be killed cruelly and callously.
    3. Same number of cattle will receive the same horrible fate etc: that’s an argument for never doing anything unless someone else does it first and if everyone takes that view, nothing will ever be done. In other words, if a ‘horrible fate’ is to be inflicted on cattle, they might as well be ours as there’s a buck in it for us. Treatment of those beasts was so appalling and so violated our basic sense of kindness to animals that the only possible reaction was stop it and stop it now. The point is that if we permitted this behaviour to continue, we become complicit in it. By using the power we had, we sent a message to the world that we would not become complicit.

  • 30
    Quizzical
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Peter O
    Agreed re the Halal - but we still have no control of their behaviour - even less so if we stop export.
    Well done re fido - bad enough having so many anaemic vegans without adding dogs to the list :-)

    Captious
    Animals are being treated inhumanely around the world. Likewise humans - remember the CIA and KGB treatment of prisoners and a few mad dictators treatment of citizens - including one cherished at the soccer recently? But for much of the inhumane treatment you and 4 C are not there to see it - so it doesn’t exist. And we DO boil crays - no?

    Cashews - the death comes from the toxicity of shelling - my point was that those countries treat life so cheaply that they don’t provide safe and humane working conditions for humans, much less cattle. Go check a few cig factories in indonesia for a deeper lesson.

    Certainly show the 4 C film around the world - but you might be surprised at the countries that shed a tear … and keep supplying the indons.

    We have got all emotive - but have not solved the problem - “operation successful, patient dead” :-)

  • 31
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    One really interesting thing about all this is how swiftly this decision-averse government leapt into action.
    Now if asylum seekers started wearing cow suits we might be getting somewhere.

  • 32
    mook schanker
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I guess Quizz is running a cluster bomb distribution service on the side otherwise someone else will get the ‘economic benefits’…

    Jokes aside, who knows what Indonesians beliefs are with cattle? as Peter O mentioned.

    We don’t have to throw our beliefs on other cultures, but where there are similarities of being ‘good’ then why not? This is like bribery, happens everywhere in Indonesia, but the populace general knows it’s not good….

  • 33
    Quizzical
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Frank
    G’day, posted at 1823 without having seen yours, I don’t disagree with your general theme and I agree with the moral concept of your point 3 - but although we have the high moral ground of not being complicit we have taken a hit in the wallet without a guarantee of success in the campaign of saving the animals.

    There are likely ways we could “encourage” (why does bribe come to mind) a different culture over there but we need to be participants, not Pontius Pilatus, to achieve that.

    Everyone agrees its about stopping the cruelty - solutions needed!

  • 34
    Competitive Australia
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    MLA charge $5 a head, what are they doing for it?

  • 35
    TheTruthHurts
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    We’ve given Labor a lot of time to fix their stuff-ups(BER, Pink Batts, East Timor non-“solution”, mining super profits tax etc etc) so how come these exporters got 2 days to fix their stuff up when this government expects 12 month to fix theirs?

    This government announces policies, then thinks of the consequences as an after thought. Why should Australian cattleman have to pay for a stuff-up in a totally different country for which they have no knowledge or control?

    Did the handful inner city leftie latte-sipping elites think about the thousands of cattle farmers out there who will be suffering financial hardship before announcing this policy? Of course not, lefties think with their hearts never with their heads.

    The logical solution to this problem was to give the MLA a period of time to rectify the problem… say 60 days to fix the problems in the Indo slaughterhouses, or THEN face export bans. Gee, that was hard wasn’t it? The MLA would be up there the next day getting things sorted, the Indo’s wouldn’t be pieved and the farmers wouldn’t be financially ruined.

    But of course… inner city lefties… well and truly away from the happenings of rural people, know best.

  • 36
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Truth”:

    Another excellent contribution to the national discussion mate…

    Have you got a random cliche generator … where can I get one?

    Seriously, “no knowledge”… had you seen the 4 corners program or any of the follow-up you would have seen senior cattle industry figures explaining how they’d been spending hundred of thousands of dollars trying (unsuccessfully) to fix up cruelty in the Indonesian slaughtering business. The gear being “used” in the salughterhouses was from Meat and Livestock Australia. This has been going on for 18 years.

    Sadly they’ve spent four times that amount on PR agencies and spin doctors trying to improve the image of the industry. All blown with one 4 corners program and a hand held video camera.

    The industry is responsible for this shambles, and no one else.

    And I live a long way from the nearest latte “Truth”… and I wake up to Angus cattle blurting their heads off next door every morning … cranky little bastards. But I wouldn’t put them through what I saw. Maybe you would.

    Try and think before you switch that generator on next time.

  • 37
    anne1024
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    @ Competitive Australia

    Marketing live export as being good for the cattle, that’s what the article says.

  • 38
    TheTruthHurts
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, “no knowledge”… had you seen the 4 corners program or any of the follow-up you would have seen senior cattle industry figures explaining how they’d been spending hundred of thousands of dollars trying (unsuccessfully) to fix up cruelty in the Indonesian slaughtering business. The gear being “used” in the salughterhouses was from Meat and Livestock Australia. This has been going on for 18 years.

    Learn to read.

    I said cattlemen. It’s the MLA’s job to take care of the cattle in Indonesia. The MLA doesn’t produce beef, they provide an export business for beef producers.

    I know you guys have trouble understanding this. A lot of these cattle farmers had no idea this was happening, and even if they did could do nothing about it.

    Now you say the MLA knew about it for 18 Years and this may well be true, but how long did the Labor Government know about it? What did they do about changing the practice?

    Until the 4 Corners program as far as the Fed Government was concerned it was a non-issue and the MLA considered it a non-issue therefore as well. 4 Corners made it publically known what was going on, and suddenly after 18 Years the government shuts down the industry? Really?

    Of course now it’s public knowledge and the MLA was forced to act… they should. But giving them 2 days to do so is an absolute bloody joke. This government doesn’t fix it’s stuff-ups that are made public knowledge in 2 days, so why should the MLA be expected to?

    And what happened to the leftie buzz-words of “regional solution”? Seems the Indo’s are pretty pieved off with Labors unilateral action, well done.

    As stated a time limit should have been set to fix the problem or THEN face consequences. No cattlemen put out of business. MLA forced to act. Indo-Australian relations not sent back 20 Years.

    But what this really comes down to is whats happening inside the Labor Party. The lefties inside Labor(and their Greenies mates) weren’t too happy bout the Malaysian Caning solution and are rebelling and this measure in my opinion was about doing a trade off…. we’ll stop the cattle canings so long as we get you onside to send boatpeople off for canings in Malaysia. This was not a thought out policy, it was a political fix.

  • 39
    david
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    the feckin troll truthie is in heaven when it gets replies to its garbage, ignore the pr-k, as in for zoo animals, don’t feed.

  • 40
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Hurts…. MLA is a producer owned company. Have a look at their website… here:
    http://www.mla.com.au... get a few facts into your opinions… see how they hold up.

    Yes it’s all Gillard’s fault of course… under Howard these cows were ticckled to death with feathers …. but really deep down you and I both know its really just another tentacle of the great UN conspiracy to enslave the world, don’t we?

    Trouble is with you fellas you only go so far. Why do you hide the Real Truth from the people… that it is the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures with its Bonapartist schemes for metrification of the entire world that is at the root of ALL our problems…. the UN is just a front …

    Haven’t you seen how far away the shops have got since we went to these accursed kilometers… how all this global warming started when we were forced into centigrade by Tim Bailey and his ilk… how little rain falls in their filthy millimeters… how much cheaper petrol was when in came in God’s gallons and we paid in Proper Pounds … how big our waistlines are in these accursed centimetres and how small our other bits… Open your eyes, the plotters are everywhere…The Truth is out there … and further out there than even you realise.

    I feel much better now.

    Now tell me the truth, you’re Andrew Bolt’s research assistant aren’t you?

  • 41
    Mort
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Truthhurts. Well I have lived in the bush all my live, raise commercial cattle and very rarely run into inner city latte sippers. You are talking out your arse. MLA has skims millions of dollars each year in levies from sales of cattle. They are supposed to represent cattle producers; they are supposed to promote beef. They are supposed to investigate and report back on export markets. Identify the need for improvements and do something about it. Their inaction has trashed the brand.

    The Northern Industry is estimated at anything up to $300 million and wants to expand –and no one thought to have a basic paddock to plate quality supply chain in place until now –when they are forced. Run a dodgy operation and that’s what happens.

    Don’t tar us all with your ignorant attitudes. Putting on the whiney pants and blaming some irrelevant politician in Canberra is a coward’s response.

    You do not represent any farmers or cattle producers in this area.

  • 42
    captious
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    quzzical
    Animals are being treated inhumanely around the world. [… ]But for much of the inhumane treatment you and 4 C are not there to see it - so it doesn’t exist. And we DO boil crays - no?

    Uh? Isn’t the whole point of programmes like 4 Corners to remind us that this shit is going on? To shake us out of our complacency? As for “you and 4 C are not there to see it - so it doesn’t exist”, spare me your sanctimony. unless you’re a gifted mind-reader you’ve NFI what I think about whether it’s within earshot or not. Yes crays and lobsters are (often) boiled alive and I imagine most thinking feeling people would find that archaic and abhorrent too. What’s your point?

    Cashews - the death comes from the toxicity of shelling - my point was that those countries treat life so cheaply that they don’t provide safe and humane working conditions for humans, much less cattle. Go check a few cig factories in indonesia for a deeper lesson

    Again, what’s your point? That because this goes on we shouldn’t create a stink about the treatmetn of live cattle there?

    Certainly show the 4 C film around the world - but you might be surprised at the countries that shed a tear … and keep supplying the indons.

    Then at least those governments that do sanction it won’t be able to do so without having to deal with some serious scrutiny of the ethics of doing so. That’s the very least any animal or human deserves.

  • 43
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    30,000 kids have died of hunger every day since that 4 Corners program, NATO have bombed hundreds more to bits in Afghanistan and Libya, Gaddafi and Assad have killed many more.

    In Adelaide yesterday a mother killed her 5 year old child and we still have over 1,000 kids in prisons without cause.

    And AWB gave $300 million to Saddam Hussein while depriving starving Iraqis of food.

    Cows are food. Can we get some bloody perspective here please?

  • 44
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    ShepherdMarilyn,

    I agree with you regarding all the horror and cruelty in the world. And you only touch the surface of it.

    Perhaps if we can start with doing less of it anywhere to anything that is a good thing, yes?

    Might even get us remembering to some compassion for each other . Starting with kids.

    So don’t knock it, even if its is just about “food”. Any indication of morality and compassion should be fanned for all it’s worth. Its not an “either/or” issue.

  • 45
    captious
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    @shepherdmarilyn

    Cows are food. Can we get some bloody perspective here please?

    Here’s a perspective for you. Cattle feel pain and know fear. How does trivialising their cruel treatment help the starving or ameliorate the suffering of war?

  • 46
    d42e9414e34bf2741935012f38b20952
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I hear you Peter O.
    I’ve been so reassured by the confident outrage from the 4C program. Arguments to condone the mistreatment or minimize it are not convincing and they haven’t convinced anyone, not even the cattlemen (good on you Mort). Pure hypocrisy for Quizz, Truthie et al to label the humane voices in this debate ‘wingers’. Those voices have prevailed and those apologists continue to bleat. May there be more of this. Some political will from Labor would be useful. Ludwig has played poorly just as Gillard played refugee policy so poorly under Beazley. They gave up when Howard charged the Tampa and continue to prevaricate, equivocate and dance to the Alan Jones jingle. Why is the ALP so cautious about committing to humane causes? They’re great for politics! They’re good for the cows, even if they are only our cows for now.

  • 47
    TheTruthHurts
    Posted Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    You are talking out your arse. MLA has skims millions of dollars each year in levies from sales of cattle. They are supposed to represent cattle producers; they are supposed to promote beef. They are supposed to investigate and report back on export markets. Identify the need for improvements and do something about it. Their inaction has trashed the brand.

    So you want to punish the cattle graziers.

    You are talking out of your arse. As long as you aren’t affected you couldn’t give 2 stuffs about anyone else.

    Good… punish MLA… give them a big fine, impose a requirement they take immediate action, but don’t punish the cattle graziers who assumed these guys were doing what they are paid for. I’m sure if you were financially affected by this stupid stupid government you’d be kicking and screaming you have been hard done by.

    What discussions did this government perform with the farmers of Australia, or did they just pull another mining tax bungle… introduce a policy, worry about negotiations later with those involved. Remember this is the same government which announced the East Timor Solution before even ringing the East Timorese to see if they wanted a detention centre country. They are political lightweights who couldn’t organise a root in a brothel.

  • 48
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Friday, 10 June 2011 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    Well excuse me, do you think the 30,000 kids who died of starvation didn’t feel any pain?

    Not too long ago Today Tonight exposed terrible treatment of breeding sows in yards part owned by Amanda Vanstone. They were in filthy little pens where they lived their entire lives being bred until they died.

    After a short outrage not one thing changed.

    Nothing.

    Chooks are kept in the most appalling conditions. Short outcry, people still eat the chooks.

    I don’t eat cows, don’t eat sheep but I am old enough to have seen many animals slaughtered on my farmer families farms since I was a little kid.

    Many whine about mulesing too, ever seen a sheep with fly strike? They are literally eaten alive.

    I have seen animals die of starvation in droughts and drown in floods and other atrocities.

  • 49
    Wayne Carveth
    Posted Friday, 10 June 2011 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Australia’s agrigultural boards have a lot of sad results.
    The AWB couldn’t think through the consequences of their narrow focus of get the money and damn the ethics.
    The Australian Wool Growers Assoc spent a fortune trying to prove the rest of the world was being unreasonable about mulesing instead of applying themselves to removing the problem and then it cost the wool industry much more in the long run.
    The live sheep export ships disgrace a few years ago should have alerted the MLA that animal cruelty can not be hidden for too long and when it is discovered the consequences can be disasterous for the farmers involved.
    The first reaction of the agricultural boards is to abuse the “city types” who don’t understand the “realities of life”.
    This has also happened with battery hens and pigs but Westfarmers to their credit are reacting by promoting ethical behaviour with animals over the protests of the agricultural boards.

  • 50
    Quizzical
    Posted Friday, 10 June 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    @D42E
    Kindly do not misquote me. I didn’t call anyone a ‘winger’ and I think you meant ‘whinger’ anyway.
    SM
    Points well made - my emphasis has been on the hypocrisy of us with our behaviours telling another nation how to behave.
    ALL
    Despite criticism of the MLA I believe they HAVE done their job - as another pointed out it was the knee jerk of the gummint to the media that created the problem in unreasonable haste.

    But I still haven’t seen a post detailing the fix over there :-)

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