At the moment all talk in our part of the world revolves around the cattle connundrum. The horrible cruelty as revealed by Four Corners in Indonesia has resulted in a complete halt to the live cattle export industry. This is animal cruelty at its most horrendous and by extension now holds significant ramifications for the Australian beef market. For those of you who haven’t been subjected to the wider implications it could mean the following; briefly:  1. The flooding of the domestic market by those cattle now unable to be sold to Indonesia – probably. 2. Cheaper domestic prices for beef at the supermarket – maybe. Remember the breeds exported are not popular at Australian dining tables. Most Australian consumers are eating the likes of hereford, wagyu, angus, simmental etc and many of these are cross breeds. 3. Cheaper prices paid to growers per head due to the flooded market-probably. 4. The loss of a major export market with the subsequent loss of domestic jobs and major implications for producers. If you’re wondering how damaging it could be for the industry the AACo (Australian Agricultural Company) suspended trading today.

I’m all for a temporary live ban however I would like to see some positive initiatives with regards to monitoring of the facilities in Indonesia. The 25 nominated facilities(as per those identified by Meat & Livestock Aust.) should be investigated and teams should be dispatched immediately to oversee any changes or industry training that is required. In the meantime let’s hope that India, Argentina and Brazil don’t jump the queue too quickly and take our place in the Indonesian market. I doubt their government’s will act like ours did; meaning their livestock may well be subjected to the same barbaric methods of slaughter. Certainly this is a case where the chain of responsibility does not end when a product leaves our shores, but nor should we close our eyes if the problem continues with Australia out of the picture. This is one of Australia’s major export markets so let’s take some responsibilty for it and try and see if education will solve the problem. I for one am not too happy with the idea of cattle coming to Indonesia from the aforementioned countries. These countries are not ‘mad cow’ or ‘foot and mouth’ free  and we certainly don’t want such diseases on our doorstep. Lastly let’s spare a thought for the cattle producers who do export to Indonesia. On talk back radio today it was revealed that one of the growers mentioned in last week’s program had received a number of very abusive telephone calls from disgruntled members of the public. The grower who has been at the brunt of these calls had no idea, like most of us, what was going on in Indonesia and was sickened like the rest of us. Seems like it’s time the wake up call was sounded to everyone… and no, our business doesn’t export to Indonesia but we do expect significant ramifications. Lastly it just goes to show what two women can do with a video camera!