Author Topic: Aussie buffalo no longer roam  (Read 696 times)

Export News Tasmania

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Aussie buffalo no longer roam
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2012, 07:27:48 PM »
BUFFALO exports to Indonesia have ground to a virtual halt following last year's live export suspension. 
The Buffalo Industry Council is now calling for greater support to help overcome trade blockages and re-ignite the industry, with backing from Shadow Federal Agriculture Minister John Cobb.
That includes more funding to research ways of improving the use of pre-slaughter stunning on buffalo in Indonesian abattoirs.
Northern Territory Buffalo Industry Council vice-president Michael Swart said before the government’s trade suspension 12 months ago, about 2000 to 3000 head of buffalo per year were also being exported to Indonesia, along with hundreds of thousands of cattle.
But he said only one shipment of 452 head had left Australia for Indonesia since the suspension was lifted last July and only one consignment of about 80 head has gone to Brunei.
Concerns are now being held for over-stocking of buffalo herds, with the animals gaining weight and some becoming potentially too heavy for export to the Indonesian market.
“We have 1500 to 2000 buffalo ready to export now but every month there’s another mob that goes over-weight,” Mr Swart said.
Mr Swart said stunning was a problem for buffalo because the bone at the front of the animal’s head was thicker than that of cattle.
In Argentina, buffalo were stunned using electric equipment - but that wasn’t a preferred practice in Indonesia, as the Australian government was concerned with the potential loss of power supplies.
Mr Swart said the lone shipment of 452 head under ESCAS had proved problematic for the Indonesian importer who experienced hassles with slaughter at several abattoirs, due to the limitations with stunning.
He said they are not looking to buy any more buffalo from Australia due to those hassles and preferred stunning the animals, due to the cost advantages and improved animal welfare.
“What we’re saying is we need a system to get it right so they will buy our product,” he said.
Opposition spokesman for agriculture John Cobb met with cattle and buffalo live export industry members in the Top End last week.
He said the “disastrous ban” and reduced export numbers for cattle and buffalo had caused huge disruption to producers and associated industries including real estate, transport, feed producers and Indigenous communities.
“These people are sick of being used as a political football by Labor and just want a fair go,” he said.
“Everywhere in Northern Australia, the question is when is the government going to fix relations with Indonesia regarding live exports?”
Mr Cobb said he was concerned about over-stocking of buffalo caused by issues with supplying them for the Indonesian market.
He said the buffalo industry could be in a worse position than cattle producers, as exports to all markets have been in decline for the past five years.
Australia has exported buffalo to New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Indonesia, Qatar, Malaysia and Sabah over the last few years. BY COLIN BETTLES 13 Jul, 2012