Australia has suspended cattle supply to a feedlot and several abattoirs in Vietnam amid an investigation into alleged animal cruelty, according to media reports.
The ABC reported Monday that the live export industry has enforced the ban as the Federal Department of Agriculture is investigating footage of alleged animal cruelty obtained by Animals Australia, which shows animals being killed by sledgehammers.
Alison Penfold from the Australian Livestock Exporters Council said it has not been given access to the footage, but the industry takes the allegations seriously.
“They’re serious allegations and could well involve livestock which we’ve exported,” she said, as cited by the ABC.
The Australian agriculture department said in a statement to ABC that it received the footage late on Friday night and is still working through it.
Penfold said the suspended feedlot in Hai Phong in northern Vietnam was owned by the importer Animex, which had been suspended within the past year due to animal welfare breaches.
She said that if the allegations are proven, it would be “disappointing” as the facility has not only breached the contractual obligations but the good faith extended to give it the second chance. “I’d doubt they’ll receive cattle again.”
Australia exported more than 360,000 cattle to Vietnam in 2015. Animex alone imported 75,000 between 2012 and the start of 2015.
Animals Australia in May last year lodged a complaint to Australia's agriculture department, saying it has “shocking and distressing” footage showing slaughterhouse workers in northern Vietnam give Australian cattle repeated blows to the head with a sledgehammer.
But Australia did not suspend cattle exports to the country at the time.
A tweet from Animals Australia shows a picture claimed to have been taken in April 2015 in Vietnam