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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs         8  July 2011

Cattle imports resume in Indonesia

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Indonesia will import 180,000 live cattle from Australia for the third quarter, marking the restart of imports after a ban on the Aus$320 million trade was lifted this week, chief economics minister Hatta Rajasa said on Friday.

Australia's government removed the month-long ban on live cattle exports to neighboring Indonesia on Wednesday, saying it was satisfied the trade could resume after a scandal over mistreatment of livestock.

Rajasa met with Australia's foreign minister Kevin Rudd in Jakarta on Friday to agree the details of resumption of trade, which comes just as Indonesia's demand is expected to pick up during the fasting month of Ramadan in August.

Rudd said both sides had agreed on cattle welfare, but he did not specify what improvements to standards Indonesia had made or had promised to make, after a joint team of experts toured abattoirs in the archipelago last month.

"Australia and Indonesia welcome any arrangements that industry reaches to give the sector higher standards, including the use of appropriate technical devices to meet halal standards," Rudd said at a joint news conference in Jakarta.

Australia's agriculture minister said this week it had revised export control orders to require ranchers to apply for permits to meet welfare requirements, and to trace cattle from farms through shipping to abattoirs with agreed standards.

The minority government had been under pressure from ranchers to overturn the ban.

Cattle producers had warned the decision was costing jobs and that domestic beef prices would fall, while some had also threatened to slaughter stock.

Elders Ltd, one of Australia's largest shippers of live cattle to Indonesia with up to 200,000 head annually, said it had booked a ship on Aug. 1 to take 3,200 cattle to its Indonesian abattoir.

"We expect to be up and running by Aug. 1 ... that's the game plan at the moment," said Malcolm Jackman, chief executive of Elders.

Elders owns a fully accredited abattoir in Indonesia and on Thursday said it was willing to provide the needed third-party certification that would be transparent and provide full traceability.

The abattoir stuns the cattle before slaughtering them, a practice that is seen as causing less distress to cattle. The ban came after television footage showed cattle being beaten, whipped and maimed prior to slaughter in some abattoirs.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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