Sun, Feb 12, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Australian abattoir closed over abuse

AFP, Sydney

An Australian abattoir has been shut down after footage emerged showing “gross mistreatment” of animals, less than a year after Canberra suspended its live cattle trade to Indonesia because of cruelty concerns.

Regulators late on Thursday said they had stopped the slaughter of animals at the Sydney plant after viewing images of sheep, cattle, goats and pigs being killed, including pigs being smashed on the head with a metal bar.

“There is no denying that the footage is disturbing. I’m shocked. I think it is the worst case I’ve seen in an abattoir in terms of animal welfare breaches,” said Peter Day, a New South Wales Food Authority official.

The incident comes after Australia abruptly froze all cattle exports to Indonesia in June last year over animal welfare issues, when state broadcaster Australian Broadcasting Corp showed images of animals being kicked and mistreated in Indonesian abattoirs ahead of slaughter.

Trade was reinstated several weeks later after Jakarta agreed to a strict new permit system requiring exporters and slaughterhouses to guarantee animal welfare standards, but the Australian cattle industry was badly impacted.

In the latest incident, footage shown on the ABC showed a worker repeatedly hitting a pig on the head with a metal bar, while another pig was beaten several times because it had not been stunned adequately beforehand.

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