Indonesia said yesterday it could buy more beef from New Zealand after Australia suspended live cattle exports owing to concerns over animal cruelty.
Agriculture Ministry Livestock Department Director-General Prabowo Respatiyo Caturroso said the Indonesian government was not yet satisfied that a video showing brutal abuse of Australian cattle in Indonesian slaughterhouses was authentic.
However, he said the government was determined to improve butchering practices wherever cruelty was discovered.
“We have to respect the Australian government’s decision to stop its live cattle exports to Indonesia,” Caturroso said.
“We’re fully aware that we have to improve animal welfare in our abattoirs. Our investigators are still checking the accuracy of the video on cruel treatment of livestock here,” he said.
Australia earlier yesterday suspended all live cattle exports to Indonesia for up to six months after a public outcry when shocking images of mistreatment in slaughterhouses were broadcast on state TV.
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said the trade, worth A$318 million a year (US$340 million), would not start again until safeguards were in place to ensure animal welfare in Indonesia.
The footage broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation included kicking, hitting, gouging of eyes and breaking of tails of some animals as Indonesian workers attempted to force them into slaughter boxes.