Thursday, August 11, 2011

Indonesian 'was paid to kick cow for footage'

SYDNEY: An Indonesian abattoir worker was paid to kick a cow in the head to provide footage of animal cruelty that helped to stop the live animal trade with Australia in June, a politician said yesterday. Animal rights activists rejected the allegation, which was made as a shipment of cattle prepared to leave port for Indonesia for the first time since the graphic images were shown in late May. Liberal Senator Chris Back, previously a veterinary surgeon for 40 years, said in a Senate hearing in Canberra that a worker accepted money to brutalise the cow. He said a reliable source who had visited the abattoir in Sumatra in western Indonesia told him that a foreign man and woman and a taxi driver had gone to the abattoir and offered the worker 150,000 rupiah (S$21) to kick the beast. He added that the driver was used by Animals Australia, which obtained the footage, the Brisbane Times news site reported. 'He kicked it a number of times and then stopped. They asked him to keep going and he did,' he said. Australia suspended the live animal trade to Indonesia after footage of the cruelty was broadcast on state television. Mr Back said the worker was beaten and his wife raped for the loss of work. But Animals Australia, an animal protection group, dismissed the allegations as 'very offensive'. 'The story you told about payment for deliberate cruelty is just so outrageous that the further suggestions that he's been ostracised, beaten, and his wife raped should be taken in the same sense,' its communications director Lyn White told the hearing. Mr Back later said he accepted that Ms White had no knowledge of any payments, but told reporters he understood the driver paid money to slaughtermen in at least two abattoirs 'so that the footage would be obtained'. The first shipment of cattle approved under a strict new licensing scheme was due to leave the northern port of Darwin in Australia for Indonesia yesterday. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE