Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Other Side to The Suspension of Live Export to Indonesia.

As most of you will be aware Angie and I live on cattle properties in Central Western Queensland. Like many others we were shocked with the 4 corners report on the slaughter of Australian cattle in Indonesia. Shocking images of animal cruelty but we wonder why 'the other side of the story' was not shown. It is very easy to sit back on the couch and watch stories such as the 4 corners broadcast but do you really know ALL the facts? 

The other side of the story is the hardworking Australian families who will suffer from this decision to suspend live export.  As a friend of ours, Kylie,  put in her story -  "There will be stories of despair, heartbreak, death, bankruptcy and loss. They will be stories of people who have been forsaken by their nation."

Today we would like to share with you Marie's story. Marie, her husband Chris and their 3 children live on a cattle property in the Northern Territory, they are award winning graziers having taken out the prestigious Sustainability Award under the NFF/DAFF 2009 Innovation in Agriculture Awards.

The Muldoon Family Photo by Glenn Campbell

Here is Marie's story:

As you can imagine our lives are in turmoil at present with the suspension of the livestock export trade to Indonesia.

The animal cruelty shown on the 4 Corners program was appalling and came as an enormous shock to us. It is incredibly upsetting to know that any animal could be treated that way. Animal welfare is an intrinsic part of every aspect of our business. We do not condone animal cruelty in any way.

Here are some facts you may not be aware of:

* The animal cruelty shown on the 4 Corners program is not common practise in Indonesian abattoirs processing Australian cattle. (We are learning that some of the footage was up to 5 years old and that Animals Australia may have paid for access to the facilities they visited).

* Some of the abattoirs in Indonesia are modern facilities who stun cattle prior to slaughter. Most of the abattoirs that accept Australian cattle do the right thing and meet international welfare standards.

* Our industry has injected millions of dollars into improving animal welfare. We are the only country in the world that invests in animal welfare improvements off shore.

* We acknowledge there are problems in the Indonesian market but our industry was already taking steps to fix them. We support banning the supply of Australian cattle to rogue operators who are unable or unwilling to meet acceptable animal welfare standards.

* Most Indonesians do not have access to refrigeration which is why they need live cattle. The housewives buy meat daily from the wet market.

* There 100 million Indonesians that live on less than USD $2 a day which is why they don’t own refrigerators.

If there was no way of fixing or preventing the appalling animal cruelty depicted by 4 Corners then we too would support shutting down the trade. However this is not the case. The Australian Government has put the lives of countless cattle families in Northern Australia in serious jeopardy. It is not only cattle families that will suffer, there will be a massive ripple effect .... contractors, trucking companies, fuel companies, small businesses in regional towns... the list goes on....

How any government expects a business / family to survive without an income for 6 -12 months is beyond me. Apart from the fact that they will send most of us broke, they have also hurt Indonesian workers and families that rely on the trade.

The government should not have banned live export to Indonesia. Instead a modified trade should have remained open where it could have been guaranteed that animals were slaughtered to international welfare standards. The Australian Government should have come to the table with their Indonesian counterparts and industry experts to resolve the issues. The issues can and will be FIXED. Banning live export does not stop animal cruelty, instead it will cripple the lives of thousands of families. We shouldn't forget that 70% of cattle processed in Indonesia prior to the ban were not Australian cattle. If we are not in the market, how can we influence change?

If the Indonesians decide to import live cattle from other countries then we could potentially have Foot and Mouth disease in Australia within a few years. This could potentially devastate all livestock industries in Australia, not just live export and not just cattle.

The 4 Corners program has provided an opportunity for both Australia and Indonesia to fast track change in Indonesia. These changes will allow investments in infrastructure and education and in doing so continually improving the care of all livestock. Australia is a world leader in livestock production and as such, why wouldn't we work with developing countries to improve their systems.

Attached are some industry press releases as well as a Letter for 4 Corners written by an industry person. This letter is a MUST READ for all Australians. If you don’t have time to read everything I am sending then make sure you read this one.

Please share this information with your family, friends and colleagues.
Please write or phone your local member to register your support for the Northern Cattle industry.

We truly need your support now.

Here are some media interviews that Mully and I have done which tell our story......

Live export story ABC 730 NT
Sydney Morning Herald
Marie’s interview with Fran Kelly

And here’s the link to Julia Gillard’s interview

Thank you for your support.

Best regards
Chris, Marie, Jock, Elizabeth & Isabella Muldoon

Midway Station

We hope that you can get behind families like Marie's. Don't choose to accept one side of the story.  Eat lots of beef and support the rural industry. Hundreds of thousands of jobs rely on Australia's beef industry. The flow on effects of the live export suspension will be incomprehensible. 



sharon said...

thank you for this great post - I hope you don't mind but I will be linking you on my own blog and on facebook - the more we can spread the real truth of the matter, the better. Those living on the eastern seaboard know no better than what the media feeds them and we must use all of the modern day resources to get our story out.

Well done (and we are just as worried as you)

mercuary52 said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been in many heated discussions about this, so many people watched one TV show and jumped on the band wagon without doing any research of their own. I too live in a farming community, my husband has been a beef boner for many years in abattoirs, he also currently works in our local Port loading live sheep and cattle for export, and has his own business of 'home kill' where he travels around to the farms around us slaughtering the beasts requested by farmers, gutting, hanging in his chillers, and going back days later to cut up ready for the freezer. So we have seen many aspects of this issue. You have given people more of a true Insight into the reality of it all. I could go on about this subject for a long time, the tv show really upset me, but not as much as the narrow minded people who just believed it-no questions asked, no investigating of their own. Thank you for enlightening them, I hope I see you at the photo shoot so I can thank you in person! Renee Browning

Sally said...

Dear Kristy, Angie and the Muldoon family,

Please know that there are many beef producers from around Australia who are behind you in support for the over-turning of this blanket ban. We can fathom your pain and frustration and empathise with you at every stage of this unfolding disaster to our industry. Most times we feel helpless but we are passing on the message to try and help get it out there. Here's hoping a solution is around the corner. You are in my thoughts every day and night and wish you and your family all the best.

Warm Regards,