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The truth about live export

"Australian Governments (Federal, Territory and State), journalists and cattlemen's associations are attempting to cloud facts about Australia's live export trade, known for at least 18 years: Indonesian halal is intended to inflict pain, employing a slow sawing motion to cut throats, rather than the less-than-a-second two-motion movement used by Australian professionals. Moreover, halal knives are invariably blunt. Even if animal rights were legislated in Indonesia, the Indonesian Government is simply too corrupt to maintain regulatory controls." (Tony Ryan)

Article by Tony Ryan

Government, journalists, cattlemen's associations, and various politicians, are attempting to cloud the issues about Australia's live export trade.

Here are some facts:

  1. Governments (Federal, Territory and State) have known the facts of halal cruelty for 18 years. Indonesian halal is intended to inflict pain, employing a slow sawing motion to cut throats, rather than the less-than-a-second two-motion movement used by Australian professionals. Moreover, halal knives are invariably blunt. Even if animal rights were legislated in Indonesia, the Indonesian Government is simply too corrupt to maintain regulatory controls.
  2. Australian live export feeds only the rich in Indonesia. Indonesian farmers and their families who supply this market are being driven bankrupt by our exports, and have been calling for cessation since imports began. This harms, not helps the Indonesian people.
  3. Government warned Australian Meat and Livestock of this crisis six months ago. Crush boxes were sent as a sop to this pressure. Government knew this full well.
  4. Live export contributes little to Australia's prosperity; only to the handful directly engaged, and on stations that are often foreign-owned.
  5. Live export is endemically cruel, in spite of public relations stunts and media releases organised by the export lobby. Worse, when animals reach their destination, they may be tied up for hours or days without water, before finally being killed in acts of horrific and indifferent cruelty.
  6. Live export cost Australians a quarter of a million jobs in: abattoirs, meat packaging, yarding, leather tanning, leather manufacturing, meat distribution, package manufacturing, meat grading dyes, meat and bone cutting implements, organic fertilisers, casein, meat inspection officers, butcher's supplies, freezing works uniforms and laundry services, transport services, and retail.
  7. That cattle farming is non-viable in the Top End has been known since at least 1982. Buffalo thrive while cattle starve, and the Department of Primary Production urged a move to buffalo domestication as far back as 1975. Buffalo were largely eradicated by 1988/89 to please US cattle lobbyists. Powerful interests in the NT's Country Liberal Party profited immensely from compensation payments made for the buffalo eradication (BTEC) programme. Claims of buffalo damage to the northern environment were falsified, and were in fact caused by feral pigs and disastrous fire regimes executed by the Commonwealth scientists of then ANPWS, which also destroyed one third of Kakadu northern cypress.
  8. There is talk of Indonesia's lack of refrigerators and how this justifies live export, but since 1978 there has been a plan to export dried meat and fish to Malaysia and Indonesia; exploiting the NT's massive fish by-catch, buffalo, and feral camel and donkey populations, during the six months of perfect Top End dry season drying winds. The Federal Government has sat on this potentially lucrative industry ever since; no doubt under pressure from meat export lobbyists and foreign aid programmes executives.
  9. Claims that live export employs a significant Aboriginal population are simply untrue. Where there is employment it is only for the few weeks of muster. By contrast, a buffalo and dried meat/fish industry could employ and feed thousands of Aborigines in the Top End, Kimberly, North Queensland and elsewhere. Moreover, this is the kind of industry they can operate without outside interference and this can lead to economic independence and an end to welfare dependency.
    10. Australia's reputation as a nation of decent and civilised human beings is at stake. If we fail to end live export, our good name will be gone forever.

Julia Gillard will say whatever her powerful lobbyists tell her to say, and we cannot rely on her assurances that live export will only proceed on the basis of animal welfare guarantees. It must be stopped now, forever.

There is also the issue of jobs, and regional and rural industrial recovery. Australians need every job we can get, and the elimination of the live export industry will create the biggest explosion in rural and urban jobs in Australia's history.

There is no sound argument to support live export, and ten good reasons (above) why it should be terminated.

We must e-mail to, write to, harangue, and nag our state and federal politicians to end live export. They need to understand that this issue has been embraced by almost the entire nation, and that politicians who do not vote to end live export, will see their names entered on the electoral black list prior to the next elections.

Finally, well done Lyn White of Animals Australia, for her courage in collecting and presenting the evidence of this crime to Four Corners.

This document has been produced by the Ryan Institute of Evidential Demographics (RIED)
PO Box 1786. Sunshine Plaza Qld
4558(07) 54754009
tonyryan43 [ AT ]
And also by the: Tariff Restoration Bloc (
Note: Since 2001, RIED has provided free statistics on unemployment, homelessness; and electoral consensus on current national issues.

Note: The principal of RIED, Tony Ryan, commenced his working life in the cattle industry in 1961 and began studying Top End rural industries after moving to the NT in 1971. He later conducted related socio-economic research for the Commonwealth and NT governments, between 1974 and 1983, and in 1982 wrote about the decline of the cattle industry and recommended replacement by buffalo. He is semi-fluent in several Aboriginal languages, and also worked in NT Aboriginal community development. He is currently developing a demographic and market research service for Australian Business, and the concomitant establishment of an Internet news service, coupled with e-library on the globalisation of Australia ... with particular reference to how this nation can regain control of its economy.


See also: Bring Back the Music - the demise of Oz bands of 22 Oct 08 also by Tony Ryan

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This article makes several highly contentious statements as fact without supplying documentation, so I would expect some of our readers to raise a number of objections on those grounds. However the article is published for the obvious merits in its advocation of relocalisation and steps towards this. Some of its statements about aboriginal employment in the live export industry are common sense. It won't please those among our readers who want all meat consumption to cease.

People who admire the camel for its remarkable adaptations, and then again those who also see it as a form of transport - indeed a major part of such an economy - to replace petroleum (in a futuristic nomadic culture for Australia) won't be impressed at any idea that reduces this animal to its value as meat alone. Advocating the use of camels for meat runs the risk of entrenching the camel further since it would acquire industrial value and similar industrial lobby strength as cattle and sheep. However the camel, even if it is a damaging eater, has virtuously padded rather than hoofed feet

The article also won't please ecologists who would see buffalo as highly destructive to the northern territory environment, although, in the buffalo's defense, its hoof has been described as wider and bigger than that of other cattle in proportion to its size and therefore less compacting to the environment. Another argument is that the buffalo has existed in wetlands in northern Australia for 150 years and the harm attributed to it needs to be taken in the context of the many other causes of damage to the wetlands.

I cite from "The Water Buffalo: New Prospects for an Underutilized Animal," where you will find more on the buffalo and the environment.

"Soil Compaction

Water buffaloes have larger hooves than cattle of comparable size and thus they compact the soil less. But buffaloes often live in damp, boggy areas where their feet may compact soft soils. Also, buffaloes are creatures of habit and, when able, they set up fixed points for drinking, feeding, defecating, wallowing, and sleeping. Between the points they wear sharply defined trails in the vegetation and soil.


Possibly the water buffalo's greatest environmental limitation is its propensity to build wallows. In hot climates every buffalo will wallow at some time during the heat of the day if water is available. When they can, buffaloes will make their own wallows, enlarging a mud puddle by rolling in it or even using their heads to flip water out of a drinking trough and muddying the ground nearby.

The pasture in the immediate area of the wallow is usually damaged by trampling and waterholes may become fouled, but buffaloes return to the same wallow day after day and do not build new ones indiscriminately. Thus, the muddied area is not a large proportion of the location in which they graze unless a large number of animals are confined in a small space(At Gainesville, Florida (possibly because of its subtropical but not hot climate), a herd of 52 buffaloes concentrated in a one-hectare field did not attempt to build a wallow at all. - Information supplied by H. Popenoe.) . In addition, man-made wallows can be dug at safe sites and the animals will use them. The problem of wallowing is therefore not generally a serious one." Source:

Although I find merit in Tony Ryan's article, his statement that Halal is meant to inflict pain cannot stand without substantiation. If anyone can find any evidence that Halal requires a blunt knife and a sawing action, please write in. In the absence of this, I supply a contrary point of view, where the author insists that the knife is meant to be surgically sharp and that the act of slitting a throat with such a knife does not cause pain. The Four Corners footage showed blunt knives and all kinds of pain infliction, and probably the argument as to what Halal intends is pretty irrelevant if killings in the name of Halal don't carry out those intentions but are allowed to continue in Indonesia and to promote themselves as Halal. I would welcome some critical writing about Halal killings, theory and practice, preferably with good documentation. The article below argues its case well (surgically), in my opinion, but unfortunately for the writer, we know that the reality in Indonesia is quite different from the theory.

Source of the below is: "An up-to-date assessment of the Muslim method of slaughter." (Note that it appears to be written by a medical professional, however it is written by a fundamentalist who takes Noahs Ark seriously and shows little understanding of animal ethology, or the real situation in abattoirs, where animals cannot help but be aware of the doom that surrounds them, with regard to his objection to stunning.)

"The act of slaughter (Al-Dhabh) starts by pronouncing the name of ALLAH (s.w.t), The Creator (BISMILLAH ALLAHU AKBAR ), to take His permission and in order to make the Slaughter-man accountable and responsible and to give compassion and mercy to the animal during this act. Besides, any action we do in our daily life should be commenced with the mention of the name of ALLAH (s.w.t ) The Most Kind, The Most Merciful.

The Qur’an says:

“And eat not of that where on ALLAH’s name has not been mentioned for verily it is abomination.

( Surah Anam 6/121)

Then, by a very, very sharp knife (which should be kept like a surgeon’s knife in sharpness and cleanliness, as previously stated by DR Ghulam Khan (UFAW, 1971), a Deep swift cut done instantaneously and quickly to the blood vessels of the neck (the two caroid arteries which carry blood to the brain and head, the two jugular veins which bring blood from the brain back to the heart), the trachea (windpipe) and the oesophagus (gullet), but the central nervous system (the spinal cord) should be kept safe and intact (not cut).

This deep, large cut through all the blood vessels of the neck causes acute blood loss and haemorrhagic shock: we know the blood is under great pressure , especially in the big carotid arteries (systolic pressure ) and at high speed and, according to physical law, the pressure always goes from the high to low resistance - the point of the cut is the scene of low resistance for blood to and from the brain. As we have a fully intact, alive heart, so most of the blood is going to be pumped and poured out instantaneously and quickly under pressure leading to a rapid fall in the blood pressure. Thus depriving the brain of its main source of oxygen and glucose, and with no blood which is necessary to keep the animal alive and functioning and able to deal with any perceptive sensation this leads to anoxia and almost immediate loss of consciousness (anesthetization or “stunning” ). The cerebrospinal fluid pressure falls even more rapidly than the blood pressure because of the jugular veins being cut, and this results in a deep shock and more loss of consciousness.

The animal, at this stage after the cut, is in a stable and quiet state with no movement or any distressed behavior. One would assume, if there was any pain or suffering, it would kick, move or show signs. After this short resting phase, and because the brain is deprived of oxygen and blood due to the huge amount of bleeding, the heartbeats increase in order to increase the flow of blood to the brain and other deprived areas. Tonic and clonic involuntary contractions and convulsions start and occur as automatic physiological reflexes in order to send and push blood up, especially to the brain. These contractions and convulsions are ‘painless’ (not, as the layman would imagine, that the kicking is due to the pain) especially when the animal is already unconscious and still has an intact spinal cord with safe nerve centers to the limbs, muscles and organs. So, we have a huge amount of bleeding from the initial cut then blood loss is continuing with the squeezing pressure of these contractions and convulsions, leading to maximum bleeding-out and less retention of blood in the carcass, giving a better quality of meat [both safer and healthier (this is like direct method of slaughter, “but without stunning”)]."

Australian cattle exported to Indonesia will be not required to be stunned, under guidelines put forward by Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig. Stunning should be mandatory, and by sending more cattle to Indonesia without this requirement, the horrific cruelty will continue. Our government is under tremendous pressure to return to live exports, due to NT graziers' livelihoods being at stake. We and they have all assumed that this industry, endorsed by our Government, was a bona fide and well controlled one, not with animals abandoned in a country with no standards or laws regarding treatment or care. Basing economies on false assumptions means that they flourish, only to be dashed by media and animal activists' revelations. The exposure has revealed not only the atrocities and horrific deaths inflicted by over 6 million cattle in the last 10 years, but government and industry corruption and ineptitude. Depending on public ignorance and silence does not make good industry practice, especially when families are involved and costs are high.


June 22, 2011

Animal advocates across Australia are still being targeted with death threats following the enormously successful rallies against live exports across the country last Saturday.

Numerous threats were directed towards advocates prior to the National Day of Action to End Live Export. The death threats have continued.

National organiser, Dr Patricia Petersen, has received death threats and other threats of violence by phone, email and text message, and advocates in other states and territories who are afraid to reveal their identities have confirmed the threats. Tasmanian organiser Suzanne Cass has confirmed that she has received a number of threatening, abusive and obscene text messages following the successful rally in Hobart.

Dr Petersen and other supporters in favour of banning live exports, have reported the threats to the police. Ms Cass filed a report with Tasmania Police today.

‘This is a seriously alarming turn of events’, said Ms Cass. ‘Because we have exposed the horrors of the Indonesian cattle trade, people who would do anything to continue subjecting their animals to this obscene torture are targeting us and threatening us with violence, or even death. Because we don’t know who or where they are, our families and our animals are potentially in danger. And these people have firearms. In one of the messages I received, the sender claimed he (or she) was being paid over $35.00 per hour to send these messages, so who knows what else he might be paid for?

'Dr Petersen has been told that she will be murdered and my mobile phone is still receiving disgusting messages containing threats of violence.'

Ms Cass says that industry claims of mass job losses as a result of the suspension of the Indonesian cattle trade are grossly exaggerated, with most of the jobs continuing to exist without the live shipping, and points to the 40,000 meat workers who lost their jobs as a direct consequence of the live export trade.

‘This industry wants its trade resumed in the full knowledge that their cattle will be subjected to the same torture we saw on ‘Four Corners’ three weeks ago’, Ms Cass continued. And not only do they want that, they want compensation for not being able to abuse any more animals.

‘Meat and Livestock Australia, the Cattlemens’ Association and the government cannot be trusted to safeguard the welfare of the animals shipped to torture in all importing countries’, Ms Cass concluded.

For further information, please contact Suzanne Cass, 0420988221 or Patricia Petersen, 0418470605

Population activists who have contributed letters to the Age calling for reductions in population growth in Australia recently received letters of a threatening tone where the sender (using a false address) implied that they should be concerned that he/she knew their addresses. The police have been contacted in these cases.