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SURABAYA, Indonesia – (AFP) – Animal rights activists on Monday denounced “cruel” treatment of cattle in Indonesia after pictures emerged of cows on their way to market being lifted by a crane from ropes tied to their heads.
It is another blow to the country’s reputation for dealing with livestock following international criticism in 2011 when Australian TV aired footage of Indonesian abattoir workers torturing cows shipped from Australia.
In the latest pictures, taken by an AFP photographer, a crane is shown transferring three bony cows from a boat in the eastern Javanese city of Surabaya using a loop of rope around their skulls.
Another photograph shows seven live cows being lifted in a similar fashion in one group, with their necks painfully outstretched.
The boat transporting the cattle had come from Sumbawa island, around 500 kilometres (300 miles) east of Surabaya, but it was not clear whether this was where the cattle had been reared.
The cattle were to be transported to the capital Jakarta, a worker in the operation who declined to give his name said. It was not known which company was transporting the cattle.
While a large number of cattle are transported around Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, it is not normal practice to lift animals up by their heads.
“It is crazy that cruel practices are still happening,” Jakarta Animal Aid Network campaigner Benvika told AFP.
Indonesian Veterinary Association chairwoman Wiwiek Bagja said animal welfare laws in effect since 2009 did not work as they did not actually lay out what punishments people should face for animal cruelty.
“In short, Indonesia is very far from implementing and enforcing the law,” Bagja said.
In the 2011 scandal, the video of cows dying slow and painful deaths, having their eyes gouged, tails broken and throats hacked, prompted the Australian government to suspend its exports to Indonesia for a month.