Aussies mull Indonesia cattle donation
Australian farmers have asked their government to buy 100,000 of their cattle, in order to donate the animals to Indonesia.
- Published: 7/05/2013 at 02:04 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
A file photo shows cattle bound for Indonesia held at a pre-export feed lot in Australia in 2011, before the government banned live exports to the country. Australian farmers are now calling on their government to buy 100,000 local cattle to donate to Indonesia. (EPA photo)
Indonesia used to be a major buyer of Australian beef, but live exports to the country were banned in 2011 after footage showing mistreatment of cattle in Indonesia was reported by the Australian media.
Relations between the two countries were damaged, and Indonesia set about trying to produce more of its beef at home. Beef prices have risen from around US$6 a kilo (178 baht) to around US$10 (296 baht) a kilo in less than a year as Indonesia struggles to meet domestic demand.
Australia has meanwhile been left with an oversupply of cattle, and farmers are warning many animals may have to be euthanised or left to die as a result of droughts in the country.
Farmers told a crisis summit in north Queensland attended by state and federal agriculture ministers that donating animals to Indonesia would both smooth over tensions caused by the 2011 live export ban, and address the issue of what to do with cattle in drought-hit areas.
According to ABC News, summit organiser Barry Hughes, said the federal government should buy 100,000 cattle from farmers and “put them in a package of relief aid to Indonesia”.
“We'd be looking to utilise the protein that's available here, causing a bottleneck in our marketplace, but relieving the protein issue that's happening in Indonesia,” he said.
Federal MP Bob Katter, who represents drought-affected areas of Queensland, said animal rights groups’ attempts to destroy live export markets were likely to lead to the starvation of cattle.
“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,” he told Beef Central news.
“The reality is that poor countries cannot afford to buy meat processed in Australia – it is too expensive – but they can afford meat that is grown-out and processed in Indonesia.”
He also called on the government to mend international relations with Indonesia.
“Cattle stations are drowning in debt and graziers walking off the land as they battle a diminishing market,” he said.
“Since they shut down the live export industry, cattle families have been treading water through good seasons of good weather and local sales. Seven out of eight years these cattlemen have had to put more money into their properties than what they are getting out.
“When you throw in the drought, which 13 shires in the region are currently declared as, the forecast is that graziers will see production halved over the next two years.”
About the author
- Writer: Online Reporters
- Position: Online Reporters