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There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether Australia should be exporting livestock like sheep and cattle overseas. Some shocking video has come out showing animals being treated badly. Now, some people want live exports banned. Tash reports.

NATASHA THIELE, REPORTER: From dusty paddocks to our dinner plates. Producing and selling meat is one of Australia’s biggest industries! But it’s just been rocked by a major scandal.

For years Australian cattle have been transported overseas alive. The animals are then turned into meat once they reach other countries. They’re called live exports. But a recent news investigation has got a lot of people concerned about them. Secret filming in Indonesia has revealed that Australian cattle are sometimes made to suffer before being turned into meat. This is where we’ll stop the pictures because what happens to the cattle next is too cruel to watch. Since the story hit the news, it’s made a lot of people angry and now many want live exports to be banned!

But, banning live exports isn’t a popular idea with everyone. Here in Australia it’s big business. Over the past 20 years, more than 6.5 million cattle have been shipped to Indonesia alone. People who support live exports argue that a ban would hurt the Australian economy and could mean some people losing their jobs.

Some countries in the Middle East prefer to buy live cattle. One of the main reasons is so they can sell the meat fresh. In some countries people don’t have fridges and freezers,
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so they’re less likely to want to buy chilled or frozen meat. And some people want to be able to kill the animal and prepare the meat themselves using their traditional techniques.

But on the other side of the argument some people think that transporting animals over long distances is cruel. They’re often packed into tight spaces and some cattle and sheep can die along the way. And even though Australia has rules to treat the animals as humanely as possible, there’s no guarantee that the same rules will be applied overseas. And in Indonesia, we know that hasn’t been the case.

So with arguments on both sides, what is the government going to do? Well, since the Indonesia video was revealed, a few actions have already been taken. The Australian Government says 11 Indonesian abattoirs won’t be used anymore. And politicians are now looking at a special investigation into Australian cattle exports to Indonesia. But is it enough?

Sometimes news like this can be upsetting if it makes you sad, you can talk to an adult about it or we’ve got some info that might help on our website [on the right hand side under ‘Extra Info’].

08 Jun 2011 3:21:51pm

I think those people should be put in jail for life. Why do people treat animals like they are nothing but toys? We should do that to them and see how they like it. If the government dont stop live exports im NEVER going to vote for labor when I grow up. We transport them overseas to kill them and do nothing except that, Not bloody torture them. They get paid to kill the animals,
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NOT TO HAVE FUN WITH THEM. Live Exports should be banned and no one should send their cattle to Indonesia ever again.

08 Jun 2011 6:13:36pm

Unfortunately the people affected here in Australia cannot find other jobs. The Pastoral regions of Australia used in the production of Livestock cannot be converted to other industries and there are not other markets that producers can sell to. The flow on affect of no farms and workers would result in small Towns turning into ghost towns faster than they are now. I fail to understand how people forget about the familes and children living on the land when people say that they can just find new jobs elsewhere.