Cruelty exposed by Four Corners in 2011 horrified Australian farmers and the broader community, but shockingly, this suffering was already known to industry group Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and live export industry group Livecorp who had previously acknowledged it in official reports but had failed to stop it.
MLA reports from 2004 - 2010 consistently highlighted significant welfare problems at the point of slaughter, from head slapping, to abattoir workers deliberately hurting animals to incapacitate them, to ineffective throat cutting and restraint.
MLA's 2005 report warned of the PR nightmare that would ensue if the Australian public was made aware of animal slaughter practices in Indonesia.
At the time of the exposé almost half of the 115 Indonesian slaughterhouses slaughtering Australian cattle were using Mark 1 restraint boxes, boxes that had been partially paid for by Australian taxpayers and would later be condemned by the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer for not meeting even basic animal welfare requirements.
Australian animals were suffering greatly in slaughterhouses that used ropes to pull and trip cattle to the ground before cutting their throats, all while they were fully conscious.
If the live export industry is genuine about improving animal welfare in importing countries it must ensure that every animal is stunned unconscious prior to slaughter.
Long-term security for Australian farmers and rural communities along with protection for Australian animals can only truly be achieved by transitioning to a meat only export trade.
Images below are taken from the 2011 report The Slaughter of Australian Cattle in Indonesia: An Observational Study
Roping of legs prior to opening of a Mark 1 restraint box.
Tripping and pulling a steer over after opening a Mark 1 restraint box.
Rope casting of an Australian steer.
Head restraint for exposing the neck prior to cutting in a Mark 1 box.