By Kathleen Calderwood, ABC Rural
With over 100 Australian abattoirs halal certified, the practice is becoming an increasingly important part of the meat processing industry.
Halal practices for slaughtering cattle were under the spotlight in December, when a group of eight Middle Eastern journalists visited Australian abattoirs and feedlots.
A southern Queensland feedlotter sees Halal slaughter, which means livestock is slaughtered according to Islamic law, as a viable alternative to live export.
Kerwee Group CEO Lachie Hart hosted eight Middle Eastern journalists at their Jondaryan feed lot last month.
“I think it’s an incredibly growing market for us,” he says.
“We’re expecting approximately a 10 per cent to 15 per cent compounded growth over the next five years.
“So it’s going to be an incredibly important market for us to continue to maintain our Halal standards.”
He says Australia has very high standards of Halal practices, which may make it worthwhile to slaughter more animals here in the future.
“I don’t ever want to see the live export trade extinguished,” Mr Hart says.
“I think it’s a very important market particularly, you know, those northern markets to Australia and Indonesia I think is an incredibly important market for the northern herds of Australia.
“But I would like to see more cattle processed here in Australia under our conditions and under our management because I know we can do a much better job of it.”
The group, from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, were hosted by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).
MLA market analyst for the Middle East and North Africa Ben Larkin says the excursion was enlightening for the visitors.
“One of the comments from the guys from Saudi Arabia, who’s probably the strictest in the region on that sort of practice, was that our Halal practices here are certainly better than what he sees in Saudi Arabia in some cases,” Mr Larkin says.
“So they were really impressed with our industry and how professional it is.”