The Australian livestock exports industry has exported cattle to Indonesia for over 30 years, mostly from cattle stations in northern Australia. Northern Australian cattle are in high demand in Indonesia as they are well suited to the warmer, tropical climate and adapt well to local conditions.
Australian livestock are critical in providing what is often the only source of protein for local families and communities. They are also used for breeding.
Cattle travel from Australia on livestock export vessels where they are cared for by trained stockmen. On arrival in Indonesia they are transported to feedlots, which provide a safe and secure environment for livestock to adapt to the local climate whilst being prepared for processing.
At feedlots, cattle have continual access to food and water and are cared for by local stockmen trained by the Australian livestock export industry. The cattle are monitored and their well-being assessed to ensure they are fit and healthy.
The Australian livestock export industry invests in making improvements for Australian cattle exported to Indonesia. This includes upgrading Indonesian feedlots and abattoirs, as well as providing livestock handling training and nutrition and breeding advice.
This work is carried out by Australian animal welfare specialists and funded by Australian livestock producers and Australian livestock exporters. Australia’s live export industry recently announced it will deliver further animal welfare improvements in Indonesia in 2011 following the release of an independent study commissioned by the livestock export industry and Australian Government’s joint Live Trade Animal Welfare Partnership.
The Independent study into animal welfare conditions for cattle in Indonesia from point of arrival from Australia to slaughter was conducted by a panel led by Professor Emeritus in Veterinary Science at Melbourne University, Prof Ivan Caple, and assessed 17 Indonesian facilities to rate the effectiveness of the industry’s animal welfare programs.
The review found the welfare of Australian cattle exported to Indonesia was generally good and provided recommendations for further animal welfare improvements in Indonesia. The Australian livestock export industry has implemented or has scheduled these improvements for action including:
• improving point of slaughter training materials and further extending animal handler competency through training programs and ongoing review and support.
• encouraging the adoption of stunning in the slaughter of Australian cattle.
• structuring journey management guidelines to ensure long-haul transport provides sufficient rest-time for livestock.
• delivering further feedlot management programs to expand the technical support provided to Indonesian feedlotters.
In 2010 Indonesia imported a total of 518,000 live export cattle from Australia, down 32 per cent on 2009 figures due to Indonesia’s enforcement of weight restrictions and permit allocations.
The Middle East took approximately 205,000 head of Australian cattle, up 112 per cent on 2009 volumes due to the recommencement of the live cattle export trade to Egypt and the emergence of Turkey as a key livestock exports market. Over 45,000 cattle were exported to Turkey from southern Western Australia in 2010. In addition, 140,000 sheep were also exported to Turkey in 2010.