Cattle Cow Council
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  • Hey there, I’m Joseph Schmidt and I’ll be speaking about the Cattle Council of Australia today. First, I’ll tell you a little about their background and the crisis, then explain the media, stakeholders and organization response. Finally, I’ll give my recommendations on to how the crises could have best been handled
  • It took about 100 years, but the Cattle Council of Australia managed to form successfully when the Council was founded on the principles of all that is beef upon a grassroots movement of 1000 cattle producers who wanted consistency and autonomy over the industry. The focus of the group was unity. In his report to the first annual conference of the Cattle Council in 1980, inaugural President, Des Crowe, said it was imperative that cattle producers "arrive at a consensus on matters of vital importance so they could act with a degree of unanimity". This would help their mission of profitability and progress.
  • The council’s strategic imperative focuses on “a sustainable, profitable and progressive environment for Australian beef cattle producers.” This is achieved through wide and regular consultation with, and policy advice to, key industry organisations, relevant Federal Government Departments and other bodies regarding issues of national and international importance Corporate social responsibility is very important to the council, Its key policy areas go beyond simply livestock trade. The environment (i.e.), animal health and welfare, biosecurity, as well as extensive research and development are important to its CSR and special interest functions. They note on their Website the efforts and rewards of networking in order to progress the interests of the cattle industry. And indeed they’ve had a successful run at policy influence.
  • In the summer, ABC produced a Four Corners feature that depicted cows being treated inhumanely in Indonesia. This included whippings, beatings, and other various cruel activity before the cows were slaughtered. Going against the preferred stun ‘n slaughter standard. The government of Australia responded very quickly to the video (and activist pressure) to ban all trade with the abattoirs depicted in the video. With the exception of individual cattle producers and Indonesia itself, most agreed the ban was needed. Fears of the ban lasting longer than six months and to more than just those Indonesian producers in the video, as well as a public outrage led to sinking sales and opinion for the industry as a whole.
  • The stakes are high. It goes without saying that Australia’s losing a ton without the Indonesian market. The BBC suggests livelihoods even are at stake. Of the 900,000 cows they export, the majority of them go to Indonesia. And while Indonesia claimed to be OK on supply until September (the banning took place in early June and today it is mid-October), there immediately became concerns over demand and a flooded market. Domestic cows, for those countries, suddenly become a more viable option.
  • The organization’s response was to be expected. The Cattle Council, or at least leaders in certain areas within its organization, immediately said that what Indonesia had been doing was unacceptable and that it was for the best to follow the ban. They conceded, it would be difficult, but had to be done in order to be in sync with their core values. But then, others – claiming backing from this same organization, criticized the government and the ban, calling the entire action too hasty. Its executive director shunned the ban as a roadblock to improvement in Indonesia, let alone a better market. The very unified, consistent hopes that the Council formed to adhere to were absent. It is understandable that there are differing opinions, but practically no official position was taken aside from compliance.
  • The media response was varied. The Cattle Council’s own particular name was left out of the majority of harsh reviews. Still, the outcry was against their own golden cow: cows. The entire crisis spawned from the media and ABC’s Four Corners feature. Articles review the video and graphic images as something that will change the way people think about the cow industry, period. But soon the focus shifted to the market. Many articles – alongside very passionate comments and feedback – spoke of either the ban not being enough or, the ban being an overreaction. (Which, would have been positive news for the Cattle Council if it were not for the fact that they had no official stance on the ban being hasty) Among the biggest visible responses was the consumers’ decision to cut cows out of their diet, turned off by the video and press. Butchers reported at least a 15% drop in sales – within the nation of Australia
  • The council failed to communicate one consistent response. This would have allowed them to take action, as whole, and with more strengthened support from its own members. Different perspectives on the situation is acceptable, and encouraged. But contradicting messages shows a loss of control. They missed this as an opportunity to promote their mission. It would have been great PR if the association outright took responsibility not for the Indonesian actions, but for wanting to be the leader in continued ethical treatment of cows. By committing , publicly, to those standards they may solve the root problem: unethical treatment of animals. Not just showing publics they mean business, but also those they traded with. They’ve made two strong commitments – one to the government and its positive lobbying rapport, And another to their standards. Competent communication on all sides keeps the council above the public’s beef with Indonesia. Thank you

Transcript

  • 1. Beef. It’s what (was) for dinner. The Cattle Council of Australia The beef with Australia’s cattle industry.
  • 2.
    • History
      • Founded in 1979
      • Unity in Beef
      • Ignored by Dairy Farmers initially
    • Mission: “Represent and progress the interests of Australian beef cattle producers.”
    The Cattle Council of Australia
  • 3.
    • Purpose
      • Better beef, better industry
      • CSR
    • Power:
      • Networking
      • Policy-making
      • Consulting
    The Cattle Council of Australia
  • 4.
    • The Cow Crisis
      • Indonesia bovine practices exposed
      • Cow Cutting-off Consensus
    • The Market Crisis
      • More than just six months
      • Activists: ‘Just a first step’
      • Sinking sales
    The Cattle Council of Australia
  • 5.
    • Indonesia’s stock in Australia livestock
      • 60% of exported beef go to Indonesia
        • 40% of their beef consumption from Australia
      • Trade worth of $350 million a year
      • Affects variety of livelihoods
        • Not just farming, production; also trucking, railroad and “helicopter mustering groups.”
    The Cattle Council of Australia
  • 6.
    • Organization’s Response
      • Supported the government and the ban.
      • Or… criticized the ban as too hasty
      • Unified, consistent response?
    The Cattle Council of Australia
  • 7.
    • Media Response
      • Original Outrage
        • Animals Australia pleased with speed of ban, but pushed for an end to the trade itself. Period.
        • Back-and-forth: Standards vs. marke
        • Stakeholder Response
        • Fear of loss of livelihood
        • 15% drop in beef sales
    The Cattle Council of Australia
  • 8.
    • Recommendations
      • Communicate
      • Capitalize
      • Commit
    The Cattle Council of Australia
  • 9. Thank You The Cattle Council of Australia