Figures released by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) last month recorded a surprise jump in live cattle exports to Vietnam. Vietnamese importers bought 181,542 head of cattle in 2014 compared to just 67,000 in 2013, a 171 percent jump.
This new level takes Vietnam to second place for live export behind Indonesia, where imports were still very strong and up 61 percent on 2013 at 730,000 head.
Australian Livestock Exporters Council’s Alison Penfold, speaking on ABC’s Landline programme, expressed surprise at the new strength of Vietnam’s market. She also cautioned on the pressure that new importers would place on the export industry and the “challenges of Vietnam”.
“There have been reports of leakage [outside of approved supply chains],” she said. “We had a discussion in Darwin around having another of our meetings with the importers up there, sitting down and going through and making sure that we’re all meeting all our obligations. The last thing we want to see is to jeopardise that market.”
The Indonesian live export market was banned in 2011 on complaints about animal welfare in Indonesia. It resulted in big losses for the market – the country’s largest cattle company, Australian Agriculture Company, put its losses at A$50 million – and resulted in a class action being launched against the federal government last year.