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Australian FM to Hold Talks With Indonesia on Cattle Exports


Workers drag a cow after it was slaughtered in a slaughterhouse in Makassar in South Sulawesi province, Indonesia, June 1, 2011

Workers drag a cow after it was slaughtered in a slaughterhouse in Makassar in South Sulawesi province, Indonesia, June 1, 2011

Australian news reports say Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will seek to restore Australia's live cattle exports to Indonesia during his visit to Jakarta later this week.

The reports say Rudd will meet with Indonesian officials Friday in an effort to salvage the $320 million annual trade.

Indonesia suspended cattle import licenses until the end of September after Australia last month banned live cattle exports to that country because of reported cruel treatment of livestock in Indonesian slaughterhouses.

The head of the Indonesian meat producers association, Joni Liano, said last week the permits will be issued when Australia's export ban is lifted.

In Australia, cattle are rendered unconscious with a stun gun before being slaughtered. Indonesia says it must observe Muslim laws on slaughtering livestock.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig held talks with his Indonesian counterpart Suswono last month in Jakarta. The two sides said they would set minimum standards for the treatment of Australian livestock in Indonesia. But they did not say when the standards would be issued so that exports can resume.

Many Australian cattle ranchers are concerned about losses caused by a prolonged export ban.

The impasse occurred after an Australian television report showed live cattle in Indonesian slaughterhouses with half slashed throats, dying slow painful deaths. Several Australian lawmakers responded to the report with demands for a permanent ban on cattle exports to Indonesia.

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