THE Indonesian government has been talking about self-sufficiency in beef for many years.
It aimed to achieve that by 2005 but extended the deadline to 2014. This decision was not in response to the live export suspension as Greg Sheridan suggests ("Export block showed our disregard for Asia", 3-4/11).
The suspension of the live export of cattle to Indonesia last year was not a "hysterical" reaction. It was the only moral and ethical response the federal government could have taken given the systemic cruelty to Australian (and local) cattle occurring in that country.
Let's remember that at least 90 per cent of abattoirs (about 100) killing Australian cattle didn't meet even the most basic international slaughter guidelines, and most of these animals would have experienced a long and painful death.
There is no doubt that Asia presents many opportunities for Australian livestock industries. However, animal welfare must not be compromised in the pursuit of commercial gain.
Heather Neil, chief executive, RSPCA, Canberra, ACT