Footage obtained by Australia Animals and broadcasted on ABC’s 7.30 reported “abhorrent animal cruelty” in a Vietnamese abattoir not licensed to receive imports of Australian cattle.
In one video, a cow can be seen with rope tied around its neck as an abattoir worker beats the animal around the head with a sledgehammer until dead. Publication of the footage has sparked an investigation from the Australian authorities.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said all beef exporters had been asked to review the systems and processes in their supply chains with Vietnam.
The government confirmed four beef exporters have notified authorities that they would suspend trade with Vietnam, while ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) measures are reviewed.
Reports claim Australian has been in contacted with counterparts in Vietnam about the complaint.
Welfare organisation Animals Australia has criticised the country’s department of agriculture for allowing this to happen on its watch.
“Under Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s watch, thousands of Australian cattle exported to Vietnam continue to be exposed to brutal sledgehammering and painful water-forcing practices,” said Animals Australia’s chief investigator, Lyn White, in a statement published on its website on June 16. “Nobody can claim they didn’t know this was happening — the exporters knew, the Department knew and the Minister knew.”
Animals Australia have logged an official complaint with the government, claiming the cattle were illegally exported to Phu Xuyen district near Hanoi.
“I watched the sledgehammer footage again last night as part of the 7.30 Report story,” Alison Penfold, CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, said in a statement.
“No amount of times watching those animals suffer will lessen how sick and disgusting it is and makes me feel. I can only imagine how people watching it for the first time must have felt.”
A statement from the Australian government could not be obtained at the time of writing.