After a maelstrom of mainstream media coverage and social media activism, the federal government has temporarily suspended the export of live cattle to Indonesia. The move follows the ABC’s documentary program Four Corners’ recent exposé of the live export trade in which shocking video footage obtained by Lyn White, director of Animals Australia, revealed cows being tortured to death in a slow and agonising manner.
The distressing images, which depicted barbaric practices that included whipping the cattle, gouging their eyes and slashing their tendons, raised the ire of so many people across the country that Animals Australia’s website collapsed from the sheer volume of traffic on the night the program screened.
Social media networks Facebook and Twitter quickly became campaign tools utilised by meat-eaters and vegans alike who united in protesting the horrendous cruelty inflicted on Australian cattle: within a week, more than 200,000 people had signed lobby group GetUp’s petition calling on the Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to ban the export of live cattle to Indonesia and phase out the live export trade all together within three years, and independent MPs and the Greens introduced private members bills to ban all live exports to the country.
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This story was written before I had seen the Four Corners special ‘A bloody business’. I had the intention of opening with a description of some of the footage shown in that program. Footage showing scenes of horrific cruelty in Indonesian slaughter houses. But I can’t do that. It was simply too horrible.
All I could think of was my student days studying the history of Germany during the 1930s and the rise of Nazism. The acquiescence that allowed the Holocaust to happen was on display during interviews with Australian cattle producers who were appalled by the slaughter conditions while perfectly happy to bank the money. These human scum, and in particular Meat and Livestock Corporation CEO Cameron Hall, rank among the worst excuses for human beings on the planet.
Rest assured, the remainder of this story will perhaps shock but there will be no graphic descriptions of cruelty.
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