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28 January 2011

Australian cattle exported to Indonesia for slaughter take an average of four cuts to the throat to die, a new industry-commissioned Report* has revealed.

The Report uncovers multiple animal welfare concerns at every stage of the journey from transport to handling to slaughter.

The RSPCA’s Chief Scientist Dr Bidda Jones said it’s now clear that conditions for cattle in Indonesia are just as bad as those that face Australian sheep exported to the Middle East.

“The majority of the animals observed, and likely the majority of animals exported, were subjected to significant levels of pain, fear and distress during handling and an inhumane slaughter.”

Of most concern to the RSPCA: 

  • The continued installation of restraint boxes that are inhumane and would not be used legally in Australia despite newer, better versions being available. (The restraint boxes forcibly trip the animal so it falls onto its side on the concrete so its throat is in the correct position to be cut.)
  • On average cattle attempted to rise 3.5 times once tripped and restrained. This usually resulted in head slapping (on the concrete).
  • On average cattle take four cuts of the throat to die (one animal was observed having its throat cut 18 times).
  • Lack of feed and water in abattoirs.
  • Very limited use of stunning.
  • High variation in the competency of slaughtermen and handlers. 

Around 80% of Australian cattle exports go to Indonesia and when unloaded animals can be transported to one of120 possible locations for slaughter.

The RSPCA says at the very least cattle should be going into a closed system where they are humanely restrained and where stunning is carried out.  

 “It’s highly unethical to continue to send Australian cattle into a situation where we know they will be treated inhumanely. We urge the Australian government to immediately act on the RSPCA’s recommendations.”

Read the RSPCA’s full response and recommendations

 * Independent study into animal welfare conditions for cattle in Indonesia from point of arrival from Australia to slaughter. Caple, I., McGown, P., Gregory, N., Cusack, P.


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