Published: 12:30 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 01 July 2011
Export crisis prompts calls for halal training centre in Australia
Australia's leading Muslim body has called upon the government to fund a halal training centre after the country suspended live exports to Indonesia owing to concerns over the halal method of slaughter.
The move comes after ABC aired an undercover documentary looking at the halal slaughter of live-export beef cattle from Australia to Indonesia. Following condemnation of the practice from animal rights groups in response to the footage, the Australian Government banned all live exports to Indonesia pending further investigation. The halting of the 300-million-dollar industry has caused great concern to Australian cattlemen; one Australian MP claimed that half a million cattle will flood the market because of the ban and warned that Indonesia could look elsewhere for their live exports if Australia didn't deliver its stock.
In response to the problem, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), which is also the Australian halal authority and the country's leading Muslim body, has called for the establishment of a halal training centre. It says that a new taxpayer-funded halal training centre - costing a "couple of million dollars" - would prepare refugees for jobs slaughtering animals in rural areas. If the proposal is accepted, the ongoing attempts by Muslim organisations to develop halal compliance in Australia would receive a major boost.
In an apparent effort to capitalise on the recent export controversy, the AFIC claim that a halal centre would help solve the problems associated with live animal export while boosting jobs and maintaining the meat and livestock industry. The AFIC President, Ibebal Patel, insists that the funding would create more rural jobs, get more refugees out of enclaves and into work and produce a stronger home-grown meat and livestock industry.
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