Author Topic: AA not to blame for cattle downturn: did we ever think it was?  (Read 943 times)

Export News Tasmania

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Re: AA not to blame for cattle downturn: did we ever think it was?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2013, 08:11:07 PM »
Politiciains such as Katter and Joyve should not be able to splash outright lies across the media as they do ...

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AA not to blame for cattle downturn: did we ever think it was?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 08:07:46 PM »
Animals Australia not to blame for cattle downturn
Animals Australia has rejected suggestions its campaign against live exports has contributed to a looming animal welfare problem in northern Australia, where hundreds of thousands of cattle are reported to be running out of feed and producers no longer have access to markets needed to sell them.

Indonesia, Australia's largest market for live export cattle, has played an important role in previous years in providing a viable market outlet for northern producers looking to destock drying pastures.

However, the country's decision to slash import quotas from 520,000 head in 2011 to 283,000 head in 2012, and further to 267,000 head this year, has limited northern destocking options for many producers as drought intensifies this year.
Northern cattle industry representatives say the region is now overstocked with cattle, and, with domestic meatworks also reportedly booked out months in advance, producers are struggling to find viable options to sell cattle.

The impact of the oversupply situation on prices also meant producers were not generating the income required to buy feed.

Federal MP Bob Katter, whose seat of Kennedy spans the worst affected areas of north western Queensland, lays the blame for Indonesia’s quota cutbacks on the Gillard Government’s sudden decision to suspend all live cattle exports to Indonesia in June 2011, a decision made in direct response to footage provided by Animals Australia of animal cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs.

"History is full of misguided do-gooders and extremists such as animal welfare groups, a stance that will probably result in the death by starvation of cattle,” Mr Katter said earlier this week.

One of 29 resolutions passed by producers at Tuesday’s Beef Crisis Summit in Richmond called for the Australian Government to officially apologise for the “appalling way in which the live export ban was handled” and called on Indonesia to reopen its trade and raise the import weight limit to 500kg.

“(This) would not only lighten pressure on local markets but would help to alleviate the extent of the impending animal welfare disaster which is looming as none of us have the money to feed them,” the resolution said.

Cloncurry mayor Andrew Daniels has warned that as many as 300,000 cattle are at risk as paddocks ran out of grass, stating that many may have to be shot or could be left to die.

The question of whether the 2011 ban was directly responsible for causing the problems now facing northern Australia remains the subject of debate.

Indonesia had begun implementing its five-year plan to achieve self-sufficiency in beef production by 2014 as early as 2010, well before the ban, when it introduced 350kg weight limits and new quota restrictions for 520,000 head at the start of 2011.
However the country had also announced similar five-year policies in the past which it never ultimately enforced. Northern cattle producer representatives point to the fact that Indonesia introduced its most significant cuts to annual quotas in the months immediately following the suspension as evidence that the reductions were directly motivated by the shock and anger felt in Indonesia at the sudden nature of the ban.

Indonesian lot feeder Dicky Adiowoso was wiith the Indonesian minister for agriculture in June 2011 when the minister received a phone call from Australian agriculture minister Joe Ludwig informing him that the trade had been suspended. Mr Adiowoso said the reaction in Indonesia was one of “shock and humiliation, followed later by anger”.

Ban not to blame: Animal Australia   However, the animal rights group responsible for the footage that triggered the June 2011 ban says that event can not be blamed for the ongoing reductions in quota.

“It is disappointing to continue to hear that the five week suspension to Indonesia in 2011 is still being blamed for issues facing the industry in 2013,” Animals Australia communications director Lisa Chalk said.

“Indonesia’s weight restrictions and quota system implemented in 2010 had a far greater impact on Northern producers than the temporary suspension.

“The signals were there well before the exposure of cruelty in Indonesia and subsequent suspension of trade that Indonesia wasn’t going to be a reliable export market for the long-term.

“A business model that relies on one market that can change at a whim provides no surety or future security for producers.”

Ms Chalk said there was no doubt that transitioning to full onshore processing would provide greater security for producers and create jobs in Australia.

“When you look at the consistent decline in live animal exports alongside the rapid growth of meat exports it is clear that the best opportunities for the future lie in expanding the capacity of our domestic processing sector and further increasing our trade in chilled and frozen meat.

“Consider the industry-imposed suspension of the sheep trade to Bahrain after last year’s rejection – as a direct result of losing the supply of live animals, Bahrain is taking more meat than ever.

“At a time when the number of live sheep exported to the Middle East is continuing to decline, our meat exports are growing exponentially with Qatar alone seeing a 40pc increase in lamb and mutton exports from Australia in 2012.

“There has been a 65pc increase in lamb and mutton exports to the Middle East more broadly over the past 12 months, with meat exports to that region worth  $100 million more than live animal exports. Meat exports are forecast to grow while live exports are expected to continue to decline, with our global meat exports forecast to jump by $218 million next year.”

Rather than focusing on Animals Australia as the messenger, Ms Chalk said the focus of industry should be on “the fact that they have been consistently deceived by being told that the welfare of their cattle was being protected in importing countries".

“ The obvious impact of this is that producers have been supplying to markets they would not have chosen to had they known the facts about how their animals were being treated.”

By James Nason09 May 2013
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 11:38:56 PM by WA Export News »