The Department of Agriculture has found two live export companies breached animal welfare standards in Indonesia and Vietnam last year.
- Two live export companies, ILE and SEALS, breached live export standards, the Department of Agriculture has found
- A critical breach involved the killing of four Northern Territory cattle in a carpark in Northern Sumatra in August 2019
- Another major breach related to the slaughter of 45 buffalo in the back of a truck in a Vietnamese abattoir
WARNING: This story contains graphic images that some readers may find distressing.
International Livestock Export (ILE) and South East Asian Livestock Services (SEALS) both breached Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) requirements in separate incidents involving Northern Territory cattle and buffalo, an ESCAS report released last week found.
The incident in Indonesia involved the slaughter of four Northern Territory cattle in a carpark near a mosque in North Sumatra in August 2019, footage of which was provided to the department last year by Animals Australia.
Alongside the incorrect roping slaughter of the cattle, the report also found ESCAS requirements were breached when an Indonesian person purchased a total of 20 cattle from an approved abattoir and distributed them to a mosque and farm.
According to the ESCAS report, ILE acknowledged the breach of standards, “however they also claimed that there had been outside influences on abattoir staff which led to these non-compliances occurring”.
NT Livestock Exporters Association CEO Will Evans said there was a widespread understanding of ESCAS rules in Indonesia and the breach was disappointing.
“At the time [when the footage was released by Animals Australia], there was a significant amount of disappointment from members of the Indonesian cattle and feedlot industry that this had happened.
“We need to keep working every single day to make sure the message [is clear] of what our standards of animal welfare are.”
The abattoir involved has been removed by the department from the approved export supply chain and a critical non-compliance with ESCAS has been recorded on ILE’s record.
“ILE took action to investigate and apply corrective action in response to the non-compliance,” the ESCAS report said.
“However, the department determined that the removal of the abattoir from their supply chain was the most effective action due to the severity of the non-compliance.”
45 buffalo killed in the back of a truck
In a separate incident, 45 Northern Territory buffalo were slaughtered in the back of a truck parked in the yard of a Vietnamese abattoir, in breach of ESCAS requirements, in December 2019.
The abattoir workers believed they were abiding by the rules when they stunned and killed the buffalo in the truck.
The ESCAS report found “the abattoir staff had previously been instructed by their supplying feedlot to euthanise any sick or downer animals (unable to stand) as soon as possible, even if it means doing so on the truck”.
“The truck movements and slaughter were conducted in full view of the CCTV cameras and supervised by the animal welfare officer who thought that slaughtering buffalo on the trucks was ESCAS-compliant.”
The live exporter involved, South East Asian Livestock Services (SEALS), said “the importer believed they were working in the best interests of the animals’ welfare, though their actions did technically fall outside of the strict requirements of ESCAS”.
“The incident was immediately reported to us by an independent third party provider of traceability and control who have live CCTV footage of all our facilities in Vietnam, and from there we reported it to the Federal Department of Agriculture and the Environment,” a SEALS spokesperson said.
“We’ve subsequently been working with the importer and abattoir to ensure animal welfare is maximised by reviewing their systems, implementing training with staff, and continuing to monitor their performance.
“This importer has a proven history of a very strong commitment to animal welfare and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”
The Department of Agriculture and the Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports, Ross Carter both declined requests for interviews.