Australia's Live Cattle Export Shame

Any meat eater with a conscience is probably uncomfortable with some of the stories that emerge about factory farming or the treatment of animals prior to and during slaughter.
The stories can be quite shocking and confronting – but they are important reminders about the cost of our diets; both on an environmental and ethical level.
On Australian television, a report entitled “A Bloody Business” aired on 4 Corners last night.
Australia sends about 500,000 live cattle to Indonesia each year – it’s big business. The industry claims the animals are well cared for on the journey to marketplace destinations; but it can be a very different story from that point.
The program showed footage of examples of what it said are many thousands of these animals dying “slow and hideous deaths” in the slaughterhouses of Indonesia. I won’t go into details – you can read or view the report here if you wish.
Within 24 hours of the report airing, an immediate investigation into the footage by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry was ordered as was a moratorium on the installation of restraint boxes seen in the footage. A complete suspension of live animal exports to the facilities identified was also put in place. These were positive steps, it’s just a shame it took a whistleblower report to make this happen.
I enjoy a good steak and I wouldn’t shy away from slaughtering an animal for food; but looking at what these animals were subjected to brought tears to my eyes and stirred up incredible anger, at the perpetrators and with myself. 
While these sorts of slaughterhouse practices may not regularly occur within our own borders and many local beef producers supplying the Indonesian market have also expressed their disgust in the practices shown in the report, I felt rather ashamed of the fact that what I ate last night I had no connection to. I couldn’t tell you what kind of life the animal had or how it met its end. Ignorance is bliss until these sorts of reports are put in front of you. 
It’s an important thing to reflect on, as uncomfortable as it may be. While regular exposure to these sorts of stories hasn’t stopped me eating “mystery” meat (yet), which is a sad comment about me I guess, they have certainly helped to reduce my consumption. 
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