Allegations of breach of Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, Indonesia - October 2012

​Executive summary

On 8 October 2012, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) received a complaint from Animals Australia (AA) alleging non-compliance with animal welfare guidelines that involved cattle exported from Australia to Indonesia under an approved Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).

The complainant alleged that a truckload of cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS were traditionally slaughtered in an abattoir in West Java, Indonesia outside of an approved supply chain on the night of 27–28 September 2012. Traditional slaughter is not consistent with the ESCAS animal welfare performance measures and targets.

No photographic evidence was provided to support the allegations and the informants were not prepared to make themselves available to investigators.

The abattoir where the alleged incident occurred is part of an approved ESCAS for four exporters. However, no evidence other than that provided by the complainant suggested that any cattle from sourced locally or from Australia were slaughtered in the abattoir in the traditional manner on the night of 27-28 September 2012.

After considering documentary evidence from auditors, exporters and other parties, the investigation has concluded that all of the cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS were slaughtered in the abattoir in accordance with the animal welfare performance measures and targets of ESCAS on the night of 27-28 September 2012.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, DAFF has concluded that there is no substantiated non-compliance with ESCAS animal welfare performance measures and targets.

1. The complaint

On 8 October 2012, DAFF received a complaint from Animals Australia of alleged non-compliances with animal welfare guidelines that might involve cattle sourced from Australia and exported to Indonesia under ESCAS. The complaint did not include photographs or video footage of the incident that was alleged to have occurred on the night of 27-28 September 2012.

2. Conduct of the investigation

DAFF assessed the information to determine whether there was any evidence to support the allegations of non compliances with the ESCAS animal welfare performance measures and targets.

The investigation focused on the following issues:

  • whether the abattoir where the incident was alleged to have occurred was part of an approved ESCAS supply chain at the time the alleged incident occurred
  • whether cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS were present in the abattoir at the time the alleged incident occurred
  • whether there was evidence of non-compliances with ESCAS animal welfare performance measures and targets in respect to cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS
  • if the above three points were confirmed, whether there was any non-compliance with any other aspects of ESCAS
  • whether the results of the investigation gave reasons for the Secretary to take regulatory action.

DAFF officers also referred to ESCAS animal welfare performance measures and targets which are used to ensure that exporters meet OIE animal welfare recommendations for slaughter. These are set out in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code Word [61.5KB].

DAFF considered the formal complaint sent to DAFF, regulatory information in possession of DAFF and additional information sought from the complainant, exporters and Meat and Livestock Australia.

DAFF requested contact details for the witness upon whose information the allegation was based however the complainant was unwilling to provide this information to DAFF due to their belief that the witness’s safety might be compromised. The absence of access to the original witness meant that DAFF has relied on all other information provided by other sources. The information provided by exporters was signed and attested to. The penalties for making false or misleading statements were made clear to all parties.

3. Investigation findings

DAFF has determined that the abattoir where the alleged incident occurred was included in the approved ESCAS for four exporters:

  • Australian Rural Exports Pty Ltd (Austrex)
  • Wellard Rural Exports Pty Ltd (Wellard)
  • Halleen Australasian Livestock Traders (HALT)
  • International Livestock Export Pty Ltd (ILE)

Evidence provided to the investigation showed that the abattoir has more than one slaughter line: one approved under ESCAS for all Australian sourced animals and at least one other for locally sourced livestock.

The investigation determined that all cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS were slaughtered in the approved slaughter line within the abattoir in accordance with the animal welfare performance measures and targets of ESCAS on the night of 27–28 September 2012.

No information or evidence presented to the investigation other than that accompanying the allegation suggested that a non-compliance with ESCAS occurred in the abattoir on the night of 27–28 September 2012.

Was the abattoir where the incident was alleged to have occurred part of an approved ESCAS supply chain at the time the alleged incident occurred?

The abattoir was included in approved ESCAS supply chains for four exporters, being Austrex, Wellard, HALT and ILE at the time the alleged incident occurred.

Were cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS present in the abattoir at the time the alleged incident occurred?

Based on evidence provided, the investigation determined that cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS by Wellard were slaughtered in the abattoir at the time the alleged incident occurred on 27–28 September 2012. No cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS by Austrex, HALT and ILE were present in the abattoir at the time the incident occurred.

Is there any evidence of non-compliance with ESCAS animal welfare performance targets and measures in respect to cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS?

The investigation determined that there is no confirmed non–compliance with ESCAS animal welfare performance targets and measures in respect to cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS which were slaughtered in the abattoir on 27–28 September 2012.

Is there any non-compliance with other aspects of ESCAS?

The investigation determined that there is no confirmed non–compliance with other aspects of ESCAS.

Is there reason for the Secretary to take regulatory action?

The investigation determined that there is no reason for the Secretary to take regulatory action against any of the exporters (Austrex, Wellard, HALT and ILE) as none of the exporters had breached the conditions of their approved ESCAS.

The ‘Guideline: Management of Non Compliance: Exporter supply chain assurance system (ESCAS) for feeder and slaughter livestock’ gives guidance on the regulatory action the Secretary might make, had there been adverse findings against an exporter outlined in section 3. The Guideline is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive in nature–it is intended as a guide only.

The Guideline contains information that can be used to classify the findings of investigations as a prelude to determining regulatory action.

The complaint did not include photographs or video footage of the incident that was alleged to have occurred on the night of 27–28 September 2012 for analysis by DAFF animal welfare experts.

Therefore there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that cattle sourced from Australia and exported under ESCAS were slaughtered in a manner inconsistent with the animal welfare performance measures and targets of ESCAS on the night of 27–28 September 2012.

4. Investigation conclusions

As there is no substantiated information confirming failure to comply with the approved ESCAS, nor failure to meet the animal welfare outcomes in relation to the alleged incident, there is no confirmed non compliance with the approved ESCAS.

As there is no confirmed non compliance with the approved ESCAS, the investigation determined that there are no grounds to take regulatory action against any of the exporters (Austrex, Wellard, HALT and ILE) as none of the exporters have breached their ESCAS requirements.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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