THE Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries has contracted a livestock stunning specialist to prepare a report on the best options for stunning buffalo prior to slaughter.
CSIRO's Dr Lisa Small has been asked to focus particularly on preparing buffalo for halal in Indonesia.
Indonesian abbatoirs now working under enhanced animal welfare standards are shying clear of processing buffalo because the animal's skulls are too thick for the stun to work effectively.
The flow-on effect is a drop in orders for live buffalo exports out of the Northern Territory.
The Eporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) implemented in Indonesia and other Australian markets, has discouraged exporters from buying and selling buffalo.
While not compulsory, stunning is now a crucial and dominant part of the slaughter process for cattle in many overseas abbatoirs.
However, the hard-headed buffalo have left people in the industry scratching their own heads, wondering if there is a way forward.
An ordinary stun-gun is ineffective on the thick skull of a buffalo and killing without it could leave the abbatoirs and exporters exposed to animal welfare scrutiny.
Dr Small's report is expected by early March.
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