Australia might be taken to the international trade body by Indonesia over what they call a “discriminatory” decision to ban live cattle exports to the country.
On Wednesday, Australian Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig announced a ban on live cattle to Indonesia for a period of up to six months as a result of a public outcry over the country’s local abattoirs.
The ban has attracted criticism both from Australian farmers and exporters as well as from Indonesia: “We hope that this is not mainly a special policy for Indonesia… If only applied to Indonesia, this is discriminative and we will submit (a complaint) to the WTO (World Trade Organisation),” said Indonesian Deputy Agriculture Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi.
According to Krisnamurthi, the same animal welfare conditions are seen in many other countries.
Although Senator Ludwig had informed Indonesia about the ban prior to the decision, Australia’s ambassador to the country, Greg Moriarty, has been called upon to explain it again – by some considered a sign that bilateral relations are under strain.
However, a spokeswoman for Senator Ludwig said in a statement that Australia will stand by its decision: “Australia has the right under World Trade Organisation rules to take actions to ensure that Australian cattle are treated in accordance with international standards on animal welfare.”
She added that the ban could be lifted early early if the standard of Indonesia’s slaughter conditions are improved.