By Stephan Johnson for Daily Mail Australia
Australian Government backs new Indonesian ‘halal law’ requiring ALL meat sold to the Muslim nation to be slaughtered according to Islamic tradition
- Trade Minister Steven Ciobo visited Indonesia last week for elite trade talks
- He has returned to express his support for upcoming Indonesian halal laws
- ‘Halal product assurance is important to Indonesian consumers,’ his office said
- From October 2019, all meat sold in Indonesia will have to be halal certified
Australia’s trade minister has backed new Indonesian laws that will require all meat sold in the Muslim nation apart from pork to be halal certified.
From October 2019, Australian beef cattle and sheep will have to have their throats cut, before they are stunned, to be widely marketed in the world’s biggest Muslim country.
Trade Minister Steven Ciobo, who visited Indonesia for three days last week, has backed the new laws which had input from religious clerics.
Australia supplies 80 per cent of Indonesia’s beef, marking a huge slice of the nation’s $9 billion beef export industry.
‘Halal product assurance is important to Indonesian consumers,’ a spokeswoman for the trade minister told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
‘Australia already operates a halal certification scheme and the vast majority of Australian beef and meat products currently exported to Indonesia are halal certified.’
To qualify as halal, live animals must have their throats cut as part of the slaughter.
This occurs shortly after the livestock is stunned in many cases.
However, animal rights activists in Australia have been campaigning to close a loophole that allows some halal abattoirs to refrain from having to stun beef cattle before the slaughter ritual.
In October 2014, outgoing Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a law stipulating that by 2019, halal certification would be compulsory on all food imports into Indonesia.
It also covers beverages, cosmetics and medical products.
The Indonesian Ulema Council, also known as the Majelis Ulama Indonesia, is the peak body for the nation’s Islamic clerics which administers halal certification.
This group is dominated by Sunni Muslims, who often clash with other Muslim denominations including the more secular Ahmadiyyas.
Before setting off for Indonesia, Mr Ciobo last week hailed the Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which will see trade barriers removed between the two nations.
‘With a population of more than 255 million and an economy approaching US$1 trillion, there is enormous scope to expand our trade with Indonesia – our 13th largest trading partner,’ he said.
Australia has had third-party halal certifiers since 1980.
Australian live cattle exports to Indonesia were temporarily halted in 2011 after Animals Australia supplied footage to the ABC’s Four Corners program showing cruel methods of slaughter.