ABA Calls For MLA To Wind Up

AUSTRALIA - The fierce debate over the appalling slaughter procedures in Indonesia illustrated by ABC’s Four Corners has shown up Australia’s Meat Industry governance, as being totally dysfunctional, says the Australian Beef Association (ABA).
calendar icon 7 June 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

ABA Chairman, Brad Bellinger said: "The highest body supposed to advise the Minister - the Red Meat Advisory Council -is made up of the Peak Councils and is only adding to the Agriculture Minister’s obvious confusion.

"The Processor group is calling for a complete ban out of blatant self interest - they want a flood of cheap Northern cattle to kill. They haven’t shown the initiative to rebuild any of the long closed Northern meat works and now call for producers to pay $ 200 plus per head to send their cattle 2,000 to 3,000 kms to their southern abattoirs. The impact on the domestic market will be diabolical”.

The Cattle Council - who are meant to represent beef producers interests appear quite incapable of defending them, as was demonstrated when they supported the introduction of beef from countries with BSE last year, accuses ABA. Their silence over this serious issue has been deafening.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is responsible for the scandal through their astounding incompetence in sending people to Indonesia with flawed equipment and ignorance of humane slaughter procedures. The MLA is “managed” by eight bureaucrats on salaries of over $300,000 –money sourced from mandatory producer levies.

Minister Ludwig must commence redrawing the flawed structure put in place by John Anderson in 1997. Northern Australian cattle producers who are entirely reliant on the Indonesian trade have awoken to the news today that 60 per cent of the trade has now been stopped, with only 25 killing facilities now having access to Australian cattle.

The Government claims to have now adopted OIE guidelines showing their own lack of confidence in MLA to manage the situation. We wonder who will police these so called guidelines in the processing works. We wonder for how long the Government can continue to take $5 from every head of cattle producers sell, to fund the MLA. We question whether it is only a rumour that the MLA has engaged a very expensive PR firm to dig them out of the mess all funded by producer levy money.

“The MLA could not be relied upon to fix the problem, when they themselves are part of the problem,” Mr Bellinger said.

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