Bardot urges Australia to stop live exports

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Screen idol Brigitte Bardot pleaded with Australia on Wednesday to end the live export of animals for slaughter, amid public outcry over the treatment of cattle traded to Indonesia.

Canberra suspended its live cattle trade to Indonesia for up to six months Wednesday after state television broadcast shocking images of cruelty in slaughterhouses in the Asian nation.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Bardot said cattle leaving Australia were "condemned to the worst mistreatment in Indonesian slaughterhouses".

The star, whose Fondation Brigitte Bardot campaigns for animal rights, wrote that she had given her views about Australia's cruelty to animals many times but these had been ignored with "total arrogance and insensitivity".

"Please, Mister Prime Minister, if you are really leading an 'open government welcoming our views and feed-back', can we expect that, this time, you will listen to the massive protest of your own citizens and of thousand(s) of animal lovers in the world who are, like me, expecting Australia to finally end live export?" Bardot wrote.

Australia has said the live cattle trade to Indonesia, worth Aus$318 million a year (US$340 million), will not start again until safeguards are in place to ensure animal welfare.

The decision was made after a report by Australian state television showed gruesome images of cattle being abused, including being kicked and hit, hacked at and dying prolonged and painful deaths in Indonesian abattoirs.

© 2011 AFP

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