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RSPCA Australia has called for an urgent review into the management of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) as fresh footage of horrific slaughter practices in Indonesia emerges.

The footage of terrified Australiansteers being roped, forced to the ground and held down before having their throats cut in a sawing motion without stunning is deeply distressing. 

Highly reminiscent of shocking footage of cattle slaughter screened on ABC’s Four Corners in 2011, which saw a temporary halt placed on live exports to Indonesia at the time, this new footage would send a shudder down the spine of every northern cattle producer, who expect the welfare of their cattle to be safeguarded under the ESCAS system.

It serves as yet another stark reminder of the inherent risks of exporting live animals into foreign markets over which the Australian Government has no control.

“Every year, thousands of Australian animals are “leaked” outside of approved supply chains demonstrating the ongoing limitations of the Government’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS). This footage graphically depicts the fate that awaits those animals,” RSPCA Senior Policy Officer, Dr Jed Goodfellow said.

RSPCA Australia has previously called out the Department of Agriculture for rubber stamping the approval of supply chains in Vietnam.

The fact that International Livestock Exports (ILE) has had 140 facilities approved in Indonesia alone is astonishing. Approving multiple slaughter facilities just ramps up the risk of inhumane slaughter and handling and leakage.   

The Department of Agriculture has already recorded over 20 separate cases of ESCAS non-compliance against ILE, including several cases of critical non-compliance, the highest non-compliance rating.

“RSPCA Australia is also concerned about a trend in ESCAS non-compliance investigations where blame is being shifted to the in-market abattoir or facility, which is then periodically suspended to allow the exporter to simply move to the next abattoir down the road,” Dr Goodfellow said.

“Given the number of breaches recorded against this exporter, this shows that there is simply no effective deterrent under the current ESCAS system. It is has become a system of managing animal cruelty incidents rather than stamping them out.

“At the end of the day, the exporter must be held accountable for such breaches as it is ultimately their decision as to what supply chains the animals are sent into. Better yet, a transition to chilled meat exports would mean Australian animals are slaughtered on Australian soil, instead of being subjected to gruelling journeys only to meet an even more gruelling fate at slaughter.

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