We arrive in the morning at the Animal Quarantine Center in Nakhon Phanom, north-east Thailand, just a few kilometers away from mountains which outline the border with Laos. The summer heat is already beating down hard and it's only 9 a.m.
But it's not humidity that hits me as I climb out of the 4WD, rather the overwhelming smell of dog urine and feces.
The Australian government's decision to temporarily ban live cattle exports to Indonesia has dealt a crushing blow to the beef industry, with some fearing the move could permanently damage relations with this vital market.
The ban follows the airing of gruesome footage on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's “Four Corners” program last week showing the brutal treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia abattoirs. The video shows cattle being kicked, hit, their eyes gouged and tails broken by Indonesian abattoirs, prompting a national outcry and swift government action.
Live cattle exports will only be resumed once those safeguards are put in place, said Senator Joe Ludwig, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.