Australia’s first post-ban shipment of live cattle will leave Darwin for Indonesia later today.
About 3000 head of Elders cattle, which have been held in yards since the federal government announced a ban on live exports to Indonesia in June, is scheduled to leave Darwin Port on board the Sahiwal Express before midday.
Since the ban was lifted in early July, just two companies have been granted export permits under the new regulatory framework.
Elders has been able to provide the federal government with supply chain assurance because it owns the feedlots and abattoirs in Indonesia that process its cattle.
Cattle are inspected by two veterinarians, including one employed by the federal government, before be being loaded onto boats. It takes four or five days for the cattle to get to Indonesia.
The stock density on the export ship can vary, but generally each animal weighing less than 350kg is allocated a minimum of 1.28 square metres, leaving cattle with enough room to turn around and lie down.
The Brahman cattle spend three to four months in Indonesian feedlots gaining weight before being sent to abattoirs for slaughter.
The fresh meat is then sold in wet markets to low- to middle-income Indonesians with limited access to refrigeration.
The live export ban was put in place after television footage showed animal cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs.
The Gillard government knew about the cruelty some eight months before the ABC Four Corners program went to air.
The Senate inquiry into animal welfare standards in the live export trade will conduct a second day of hearings in Canberra on Wednesday, after last week sitting in Darwin.