Author Topic: Research says moving to chilled + frozen meat trade creates jobs, boosts profits  (Read 676 times)

WA Export News

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Shift the focus on live trade: activists. 
AUSTRALIA'S northern cattle regions could benefit significantly if animals destined for sale overseas were processed at home instead of being exported alive, a new report says.

Research commissioned by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) says shifting to a chilled and frozen meat trade would create jobs and boost profits for beef producers.

It comes days after thousands of protesters gathered in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities across the country calling for an end to the live animal export trade.

The report, by Australian agricultural and economic consultancy ACIL Tasman, proposes setting up abattoirs near major beef production areas in northern Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

More than $200 million would be added to the regional economy and 1300 jobs created, if up to 400,000 cattle were processed domestically instead of being shipped off as live exports.

It would also offset the unpredictability of the live cattle trade with Indonesia, a nation trying to achieve beef self-sufficiency by 2014, and ensure greater returns for Australian farmers.

WSPA says the processed meat strategy - which has been debated in the agriculture sector for years - would be a win for animal welfare, jobs and regional development.

The Australian Greens have backed the findings, as the minor party prepares to push for a live export ban in the Senate on Thursday.

However, Indonesia and some Middle East nations impose trade barriers and subsidies on chilled meats, but not on live animal imports, creating a strong disincentive for investment in processing at home.

Australian Livestock Exports Council chief Alison Penfold says the live and packaged meat export trades are complementary.

"There's no impediment for the construction of an abattoir anywhere in Australia, and certainly live exports isn't standing in the way," Ms Penfold told AAP.

But it's a "furphy" that packaged meat don't encounter problems exporting to places like Indonesia.

"There's containers of boxed meat sitting on the wharves of Indonesia at the moment that have been there now for several months," Ms Penfold said.

WSPA has called on both sides of parliament to negotiate with Indonesia about trade barriers, and explore options for developing the other export meat markets available to Australia's producers.

Australia is the world's third-largest exporter of live cattle and also ships sheep and goats to Indonesia and the middle east.

The entire trade is worth about $1 billion annually.

While there's also a large trade in frozen or chilled meat, Australia can't serve all its export markets because of a lack of refrigeration or cultural preferences, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website says.
  • by:  Nick Perry 
  • From:  AAP 
  • October 10, 2012
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 05:25:55 PM by WA Export News »