Beef Up Controls

It is most regrettable, if not entirely unsurprising, that further videoed evidence has emerged of wholesale cruelty at an Indonesian slaughterhouse. In the latest incidence, filmed in January by the activist group Animals Australia, a cow is being carved up before it is dead, leaving the creature to roar in excruciating pain.

It comes just after relations between Indonesia and Australia concerning live-animal sales had begun to normalise following revelations last year of the mistreatment of animals at Indonesian abattoirs, prompting Canberra to issue a ban on further exports.

The Australian agriculture minister, Joe Ludwig, expressed shock this week that such barbaric practices are continuing in Indonesia. He is particularly dismayed, as are we, because the Indonesian authorities promised during last year’s debacle to introduce a new licensing system that they insisted would protect the welfare of animals. That solid assurance led to the lifting of the trade ban but its implementation and monitoring clearly is not working, as the activists’ cameras have shown.

The agriculture minister correctly asserted that a sustainable meat-processing industry in Indonesia can only be one where animal welfare is at its core, not coarsely cast aside in a rush to strip creatures of their valuable muscle.

Australians and others overseas will not stand for the maltreatment and outright abuse of animals whose lives are being ended for human consumption. Many Indonesians will not, either. Before a second full-blown trade crisis erupts between Australia and Indonesia, one that would again hurt both countries’ economies, the government in Jakarta must move rapidly to ensure all abattoirs in the country are correctly licensed and monitored to ensure that the animals passing through them are treated with adequate care. Any rogue premises that are in repeated violation must be shut down.

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