Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hand Wringing over Cattle

It is superficially good news the live cattle export trade has been stopped, to Indonesia at least. As Ann points out, what about the sheep?

I thank no one for doing what had to be done. As I heard on radio, why are so many people contacting politicians about the animal cruelty and very few did about the boat arrivals when their boat sank and many died. That is because animals aren't making decisions for themselves. They don't have the wherewithal to do so. They have no capacity to understand or rationalise what is happening to them.

It seems politicians, trade representatives et al have been swamped by protests after the Four Corners tv show went to air. I can't remember the last time I contacted a federal politician about anything, but my local member Mr Danby received a short and succinct email from me, to which he did briefly respond in a form manner.

Did you note the pretty and interesting cow face I included in my post? I was attempting to tug at heart strings, maybe successfully, maybe not. Both sides play this game. This morning I heard a farmer come up with some doozeys. The poor Indonesian child sitting down to dinner with a bowl of rice and no beef to go with it. Worse was, the north of Australia will be full of farmers hanging from trees. I do feel some sympathy for the farmers, but you can't tell me they were all so ignorant. Their representative bodies certainly were not. It was known it was happening. The authorities have had years to do something about it, and they have not fixed the problem at all.

Let me just wonder how the banning came about? We'll use the word Minister as representative of the government and Trade as the industry representative.

Tuesday, post the Four Corners show:

Minister: Trade, there are emails, phone calls and letters arriving in high volume. We are going to do something tough.
Trade: We realise this Minister. We propose banning exports to all but a dozen or so Indonesian abattoirs.
Minister: Ok, I'll run with that and see how we go.


Minister: Trade, it is getting worse, not better. Did you hear how many signed that blasted Get Up petition? I think I am going to have to ban exports.
Trade: We have some other proposals Minister.
Minister: The public just aren't wearing it. I am going to have to ban. Let's face it Trade, you have had thirty years to get it right and now this has all blown up and it is the last thing we need at the moment.
Trade: Well Minister, at least it stopped carbon chat for a couple of days.
Minister: (Glares at Trade) So what are you proposing?
Trade: We have some ideas Minister, but it is difficult, cultural issues, sovereign rights, religious matters.....So problematic.....


Minister: Trade, can you guarantee that this is the last time ever the government will have to deal with such a matter?
Trade: We can't do that Minister. As I have previously explained, how can we control what happens once the animals leave our shores?
Minister: You know what this means Trade. Come Wednesday I am going to have to make that announcement.
Trade: Yes Minister. Will there be compensation and how long will the ban last?
Minister: Get out. Come back and see me when all the fuss dies down.

The above may be close to or very remote from what actually happened, but one thing for sure, the government did not act out of concern for cruelty to animals and nor is the trade. They are doing what the Australian public has forced them to do. Well done all of you who participated.


  1. Hello Andrew:
    Well, at least one takes heart in all of this from the knowledge that if sufficient individuals gather behind a cause then a difference can be made. As you say so well here, many people will have known about this situation for a very long time and done nothing. Public opinion, however, has at least managed to bring change even if concern for animal welfare did not.

    A very similar campaign took place some years ago in the UK, with a similar end result. The power of the individual is still alive and well, as long as they are galvanised in sufficient numbers.

  2. And J&L, it does give us some moral power to criticise countries where animals are not treated well.

  3. no strange fruit will hang from trees or shed-beams on the vast northern properties which run thousands of cattle and are cruel to them on road-trains well before the filthy muslims get their crack, because those huge beef producers are all foreign-owned mega corps.
    cattle, and the sheep ... also
    the chickens swinging from conveyor-belt slaughter in QLD making the Ingham family rich ... oh look, I'm wringing my feet as well as hands.
    X X

  4. Ann, probably because it is so visible, but even as a kid I used to worry about animals being transported and I hated seeing them in trucks.


Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.