December 06, 2011
Australian cattle imports are being fed a potentially dangerous feed additive in Indonesia that have the potential to cause severe side-effects in humans, a report alleged on Tuesday.
The report by freelance Australian journalist Amber Atkinson, published by Crikey.com.au, quoted Indonesian Beef Producer and Lot Feeder Association chairman Dayan Antoni as saying that “there had been a spike” in the use of asthma drug Salbutamol, which also builds muscle and reduces fat in cattle.
Though Dayan would not comment on the numbers of feedlotters using the drug, better known as Ventolin, he acknowledged it was a “growing problem.”
“There’s a public health issue and an animal welfare issue because we are giving the drug in the feed, then to the animal and that drug forces the heart to move faster — the animal can actually go into a coma and this can result in death,” he was quoted by Crikey as saying.
The article, without quoting any source, said: “When consumed by humans the poisoned meat can have serious side effects ranging from muscle cramps, vision changes, eye pain, and irregular heartbeat. It can also result in difficulties during pregnancy causing birth defects and can prove fatal.”
The article also said the revelations had “the potential to again threaten the future” of Australia’s live cattle export industry.
Australia halted all live cattle shipments to Indonesia in June after a documentary showing graphic acts of cruelty to cows in the Southeast Asian nation’s abattoirs sparked an angry public backlash.
The ban was lifted a month later and exports to Indonesia resumed in August under a strict new licensing scheme.
(x the JG)