THE Greens have renewed calls to end live exports following new footage showing the inappropriate slaughter of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs.
ABC Television yesterday aired footage that showed workers slitting the throats of cattle without stunning them first and cutting animals up while still alive.
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The cattle are believed to have been exported from Australia.
Agriculture department officials are investigating the vision to establish if the cattle are Australian and if the slaughterhouses are part of its approved abattoir system.
Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said the only way to end cruel slaughter practices was to ban the live export trade.
"We don't have confidence in the present system," she told ABC Television today.
Senator Rhiannon said a total ban would not cause economic harm in Australia because it would result in the reopening of local abattoirs.
About 40,000 meat industry jobs have been lost since the 1980s, when abattoirs in the area closed because of the live export trade.
"So the economics benefits can come back to Australia," Senator Rhiannon said.
Live cattle exports to Indonesia were banned for two months last year in the wake of footage showing cruel treatment of cattle.
Live Exports Council chief executive Alison Penfold dismissed Senator Rhiannon's comments as naive, but admitted the footage was distressing.
Ms Penfold said the live export industry had been an important part of Australia's agricultural sector for more than a century and believed new regulations governing live exports are working.
"There are big economic benefits to people right across northern Australia," she told ABC radio.
"There is a process to identify, isolate and fix any activities that do not meet the standards of the new regulatory framework.
"And the industry and exporters are committed to take corrective activity if (an) investigation finds that needs to be done."
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig insists a new independent auditing regime would have picked up inappropriate practices at the Timur Petir slaughterhouse.
But he admitted that many people in the community would be horrified by the footage.
"That's why we're taking action," he told ABC radio, saying the matter had been referred to the regulator for investigation.
The minister could not confirm the cattle shown in the footage were from Australia, saying the regulator would need to identify the supply chain and exporter.
Remedial action would be taken if the investigation revealed the supply chain was in breach of new regulations.
"In instances where they are beyond the pale, they'll (the regulator) take very strong action," Senator Ludwig said.