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Two Australian cattle exporters banned as Vietnam probe continues

Two Australian cattle exporters banned as Vietnam probe continues article image

Two Australian livestock exporters have been banned from sending cattle to Vietnam following the recent animal-cruelty scandal.

The Department of Agriculture said two of the eight exporters operating in Vietnam had been ordered to cease supplying the market as it investigates footage of cattle being bludgeoned to death with sledgehammers in local abattoirs. It did not disclose the names of the banned exporters.

The Department said the bans would stay in force until effective measures were in place to address animal control, traceability and verification processes.

And another four exporters face stricter conditions if they want to continue shipping cattle to Vietnam including additional reporting, monitoring and supervision requirements.

Commonwealth investigators are due to finish their audit of supply chains by the end of the month.

The total number of suspended facilities in Vietnam has risen to 21, including three feedlots and 18 abattoirs.

Significant commercial impact

The Australian Livestock Exporters Council said sanctions were appropriate if they stopped breaches of the Export Supply Chain Assurance System.

“The suspension of an exporters’ ESCAS supply chain is a serious and disruptive regulatory action and can have a significant commercial impact on business,” it said.

“ALEC trusts that the department will move quickly to reinstate market access as soon as the affected exporters can demonstrate effective control, traceability and verification processes.”

Animals Australia chief investigator Lyn White said the investigation already is revealing fatal flaws in the traceability system.

"Until these can be rectified and the industry can declare all of their supply chains are secure, they should themselves be suspending the trade to Vietnam," Ms White said.

Meat and Livestock Australia figures show exports of feeder and slaughter cattle fell 14 per cent to 1.1 million in 2015-16.

Exports to Indonesia fell 24 per cent to 566,389. Exports to Vietnam, Australia’s second biggest market, fell 7 per cent to 282,952.

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