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Australia Lifts Ban on Live Cattle Shipments to Indonesia

Australia has lifted a nearly month-old ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia which was imposed over concerns about the treatment of the animals.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig announced the end of the ban Wednesday, expressing confidence that Indonesian slaughterhouses will meet Australian standards for humane practices.

Ludwig says Australian beef exporters will now be required to keep track of the animals all the way to the slaughterhouse. He said the abattoirs will be independently monitored.

Companies can now apply for export permits, but Ludwig could not say exactly when the livestock shipments will resume.

Australia's $350 million annual live cattle trade to Indonesia was suspended on June 7 after an Australian television report showed livestock in Indonesian slaughterhouses with their throats partially slashed, dying slow, painful deaths.

Australian cattle ranchers were angered by the ban, saying it cost them a large part of their income. Australia is the world's largest exporter of livestock, and accounts for up to 40 percent of the beef eaten in Indonesia.

Ludwig said banning the cattle exports was "not an easy decision to make, but it was the right one."