Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Things I don't understand

There are many, many things that I don't understand in the world.

Last Monday our premier investigative news program Four Corners exposed the unspeakable horrors inflicted on live Australian cattle sent to Indonesian abattoirs.

I didn't watch it. Just reading about it before the show was plenty disturbing enough for me.

I have for a long time been opposed to the live export of cattle, sheep and camels. Stories of incredibly tortuous journeys for terrified animals, only to be dispatched in an incredibly inhumane manner make me very angry.

OK, so I'm a vegetarian that's a personal choice but I doubt there would be many meat eaters who would want their food to be terrified and tortured and die an agonising death before they eat it. And I know that cattle farmers are by and large furious that their livestock has been treated this way.

So the finger pointing has commenced. How did this happen? There are guidelines and inspections, methodologies and payments. Which department is responsible? Who knew what and did nothing?

Australia has temporarily halted shipments to the abattoirs that were the subject of the investigation. Indonesia has responded by saying that while there are laws protecting animals, there is no penalty for transgression and so no reason to adhere to them.

The reason that live animals are sent to Indonesia is so that they can be assured a Halal slaughter. As I understand, Halal killing is much like Kosher killing. The animal must be alive (that is, you cannot eat carrion), the executioner must recite a prayer before slitting the throat and the body must not be touched until after exsanguination. Treating an animal the way that has been exposed here before death would result in the meat being Haraam or forbidden.

Clearly all the checks and balances, forms and departments of doing this and that have failed. If these barbaric atrocities are going on in the11 abattoirs that were filmed by Four Corners, then what comfort can we have that the same thing isn't going on all over the world at the final destinations for our livestock? 

Since animal rights guidelines in the countries are not going to change practices, I think more Muslims worldwide need to come out and publicly condemn this horror as being Haraam (some in Australia have already said this). If the meat is deemed unclean by clerics, just watch how quickly humane practices are introduced.

Unless that happens, we should not send any live animals overseas.

Please sign the petition at Get Up! HERE

ps. sorry for the still of the poor wretched creature in the video at the link. Watch the video if you aren't convinced and have a stronger constitution than I do. Or, if you're like me put your hand over the left-hand side of your screen!


  1. As you know I am a meat eater although not as much now as once upon a time. I have long been actively avoiding caged eggs and choose only free range chicken. I was horrified to see how pigs are raised and although I rarely eat it I will now only buy free range pork...I agree that the live export trade is disgraceful and living where I do I often see the poor creatures being trucked to and fro on the way to the port. Poor things! Lets hope that like the dolphins and the tuna fishing and the plight of battery hens is changing that people become more aware and if we are going to eat them we at least treat them humanely.

  2. Well, I'd say don't eat them at all. But that's me and I don't want to come across as a militant vego here but I'm under no illusions that animals here aren't terrified out of their hides waiting in line for their "humane" stun bolt to the temple - choosing not to eat something that feels fear is my personal line in the sand.

    But clearly poverty-stricken people in overcrowded cities in Indonesia don't have the same luxury of choice as I do.

    I'm worried that this affair will turn into a us and them thing. I heard some bloke from Meat & Livestock association yesterday saying, "they don't have the same values as us" ...etc etc. And I received a form email response to my email to members of parliament from the Coalition urging us to remain "objective" which obviously means remain rational of the Economic Rationalist kind...I read though that a senior Islamic cleric has now come out and said this is NOT halal. That is what needs to happen. They need to change attitudes from within, it is not for us to impose our values on them in a superior white aren't they brutes kind of way.

    BUT we cannot be party to this system. It goes against our values. I'm heartened by the response to the campaign to stop live exports. This has galvanised the Australian public like little else in recent times. I was ashamed once again at Australia's complicity in this and now I'm proud of the groundswell of support to stop it.

    I do wonder also how many people who watched on Monday are today Vegetarians....

  3. Erp, sorry! I guess I do come across as a militant vego.

    Anyway, carry on......

  4. You might be a militant vego and also militantly against pony tails and anything remotely mainstream and I love you exactly the way you are!!!!