Pressure from buyers have triggered partial meat industry paralysis as Australian meat industry leaders call on governments to help avoid COVID-19 shutdowns.
Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) chief executive Patrick Hutchinson said it was critical that federal agriculture minister David Littleproud's declaration that agriculture would not be affected by closures was followed.
"If other people are making decisions around this and other interventions, then they've got to be standing up and making it very clear as to why they're making these decisions," Mr Hutchinson said.
"I certainly know the saleyards want to keep sales going, that's what they've been telling us, so other people are making decisions around that.
"On a store sale that doesn't really impact meat buyers but you know, if it impacts on prime sales, we're going to have a lot to say about that.
"The nation is voting with its feet in regards to red meat and red meat consumption.
"I implore our supply chain that we don't kick an own goal and try and shut something down because they feel there's a potential for a drop in competition or whatever else that might be."
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Agriculture minister David Littleproud said Australia's food production and supply chain would not be affected by coronavirus shutdowns.
"The Commonwealth is guaranteeing food production and supply as we deal with the virus's spread," Mr Littleproud said.
"I am in constant dialogue with farming groups, the states, supermarkets and my department to make sure there's food on the table for all Australians.
"As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, food production and supply is an essential service.
"Feeding our nation is an essential service.
"That means state-imposed border shutdowns will not affect agricultural supply chains.
"Feed, hay, fertilizer and other agriculture products will continue being delivered to farms.
"Maintaining food production, access to workers, agricultural supply lines, transportation and logistics is absolutely critical and will not be affected by any of the measures aimed at curbing the virus's spread."
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