Australia has banned the export of live cattle to Indonesia amid a public outcry over cruelty in the Islamic country's slaughterhouses. Horrific images broadcast on Australian TV last week showed cattle being whipped, kicked and beaten before painful slaughter. Some cows were left to bleed to death after repeated clumsy cuts to the throat. The Australian government is suspending exports until Indonesia implements safeguards against cruelty, reports the BBC. Australia exports more than half a million cattle to Indonesia each year, and the move is a major blow to the nation's cattle industry.
Australia wants Indonesia to stun cattle before slaughter, but stunning is rare in Indonesia and is widely considered to be contrary to Islamic law, AP notes. Meat sales within Australia have dropped by more than 10% since the program on Indonesian slaughterhouses was broadcast. "What you saw on the program would not happen in an Australian abattoir," a spokesman for an industry group tells the Sydney Morning Herald. "The appalling cruelty that occurred is against Australian law." (Read more Indonesia stories.)