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Vietnam eyes cattle imports from S. America after Australia cuts supply

By Toan Dao   June 29, 2016 | 11:55 pm PT
Vietnamese authorities are working to secure livestock agreements with countries in South America for Vietnam to import cattle from them, Vietnam News Agency reported on Thursday.

It is part of the measures that Vietnam is taking to reduce the possible impact from Australia’s suspension of livestock supply to several abattoirs and feedlots in Vietnam. Vietnamese companies will look more to cattle imports from South American nations, which have similar natural conditions to Vietnam, VNA cited Tong Xuan Chinh, deputy director of the Department of Livestock under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as saying.

There are 12 independent countries and three dependent territories in South America. Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina are the three prominent livestock countries on the continent.

Vietnamese authorities will continue to work with Australia and raise awareness among local abattoirs and feedlots about the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS). The system is designed to ensure that exported Australian livestock is handled in accordance with international animal welfare standards and to provide a mechanism to deal with animal welfare issues when they occur.

Animals Australia describes the cow as frantic, terrified and utterly helpless. Photo by Animals Australia

Animals Australia described the cow as "frantic, terrified and utterly helpless". Photo by Animals Australia

Chinh said Australia's suspension of cattle exports is unlikely to affect Vietnamese companies much at the moment because Vietnam can still import animals from other sources. However, if it continues, it will have serious consequences for companies as Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Hoang Ha that have invested heavily in feedlots. Vietnam's cattle herd is currently not big enough to meet local demand.

Privately-owned Hoang Anh Gia Lai has poured VND6.3 trillion ($279 million) into a project to raise 236,000 heads of cattle, including 120,000 dairy cows.

Australia has suspended livestock supplies to 18 abattoirs and feedlots in Vietnam pending an investigation into alleged animal cruelty, the Australian Embassy told VnExpress International recently.

Australia has suspended cattle shipments to six abattoirs accused of animal cruelty by Animals Australia and 10 other certified abattoirs, along with one feedlot in Phu Xuyen (Hanoi) and one in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

According to Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, Viet Nam was the second largest live cattle importer of Australia in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, buying in 309,505 animals valued at AUD328 million.

Related news:

> Vietnamese firms get taste for Aussie beef amid animal cruelty scandal

> Australia suspends 18 facilities in Vietnam for animal cruelty: Embassy

> Australia blocks Vietnam slaughterhouses for animal cruelty

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