Court Rejects Petition against Provision on Animal Import

The Petitioners’ legal counsel at the ruling hearing of the material judicial review of Law on Animal Husbandry and Animal Health, Tuesday (1/31/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 | 17:15 WIB

JAKARTA (MKRI)—The Constitutional Court (MK) rejected the entire material judicial review petition of Article 36E paragraphs (1) and (2) of Law No. 41 of 2014 on the Amendment to Law No. 18 of 2009 on Animal Husbandry and Animal Health (PKH Law) at a ruling hearing in the plenary courtroom on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. “[The Court through its] verdict rejects the Petitioners’ petition in its entirety,” said Chief Justice Anwar Usman reading out the Decision No. 105/PUU-XX/2022, petitioned by cattle farmers Teguh Boediyana, Gun Gun Muhamad Lutfi Nugraha, Ferry Kusmawan, and Irfan Arif (Petitioners I-IV).

In its legal considerations presented by Constitutional Justice Daniel Yusmic P. Foekh, the Court asserted the state has a duty to ensure that the people’s need for healthy food be fulfilled. The Constitution—particularly the second paragraph of the Preamble—stipulates that Indonesian independence has made Indonesia an independent, united, sovereign, just, and prosperous country. In other words, it has mandated that Indonesia become an independent and sovereign country, which include food security. Sovereignty and food security are not only important for the state and the people, but inseparable from the country’s independence.

“Even so, this does not mean that Indonesia cannot become an importer [to meet] its needs for food. Import may be carried out incidentally to support national food stability and as long as it does not diminish Indonesia’s sovereignty over food and does not diminish national food security so that the people’s need for food is met in accordance with the principle of caution. Provisions on food imports can only be carried out if domestic food production is insufficient and/or [the food products] cannot be produced domestically,” Justice Foekh said.

He added that the Court were aware that by opening the flow of food imports in casu livestock products, it would impact price competition, which could weaken local livestock entrepreneurs.

“Meanwhile, on the other hand, the public as consumers benefit from cheap imported animal products as a result of price competition for these livestock products when the need for livestock products increase significantly. Therefore, balance and prudence are required for the state in determining the import policy of livestock products to stay in line with the economic philosophy mandated by the 1945 Constitution, in that that it is organized based on economic democracy with the principles of togetherness, efficiency with justice, sustainability, environmental insight, independence, and by maintaining a balance of progress and economic unity, and for strengthening self-sufficiency and for the prosperity of the people,” Justice Foekh explained.

He added that the Government should established policies and regulations on food imports that would not be counter-productive on the sustainability of livestock businesses and the welfare of breeders and micro- and small-business actors. The import of livestock products is carried out strictly, carefully, and prioritizes the interests of breeders/farmers in all corners of the country and national interests. The health aspect must also be considered by all stakeholders; everyone who imports food for trade must meet food safety and food quality standards.

Also read:

Cattle Farmers Challenge Provision on Animal Imports

Cattle Farmers Revise Petition against Provision on Animal Import

Import Requirements

Justice Foekh also stated that the Court had ruled on the requirements for the import of animal products in Decision No. 129/PUU-XIII/2015, where it asserted that maximum caution must be applied in the import of any goods. Therefore, the import of animal products, especially through the zone system, must be seen as a temporary solution under specific circumstances. The elucidation to Article 36E paragraph (1) of Law No. 41 of 2014 determines “specific circumstances” as an urgent situation, among other things, due to a disaster, when the community needs supplies of livestock and/or animal products.

Apart from that, the Court believes the main background of the petition was the enactment of the Government Regulation (PP) No. 4 of 2016 on the Import of Livestock and/or Animal Products in certain cases from a country or zone of the exporting country, for which the Court handed down Decision No. 129/PUU-XIII/2015 at a public plenary session on February 7, 2017 with a ruling stating that Article 36E paragraph (1) was conditionally unconstitutional, in that it must meet the requirements in the Elucidation to Article 36E paragraph (1) on “urgent situation.”

“Based on the legal considerations in Decision No. 129/PUU-XIII/2015 and because of the constitutionality issue of the article being petitioned for review, the Petitioners and the or arguments used as the basis for the petition are substantially the same, even though the touchstones are different. Thus, the legal considerations in the decision also [applies] for the a quo case on the Elucidation to Article 36E paragraph (1) of Law No. 41 of 2014. Therefore, the argument of the a quo petition has no legal basis,” Justice Foekh said.

Food Security

Nevertheless, Constitutional Justice Enny Nurbaningsih added that the Court need to make a reminder about state sovereignty over food security for the people. It is necessary to maintain the management and trading system of livestock products, both in terms of quantity and quality. In terms of quantity, the Government, breeders, and livestock business actors should make planned and programmed efforts to increase domestic livestock products for strengthening national food security.

The Court emphasized the need for government attention on the quantity of livestock products to ensure that domestic livestock products are sufficient, to empower domestic livestock and emphasize the importance of state/government’s support for domestic breeders. It is important that the state/government support is pursued and organized to encourage and create governance and trading systems for domestic livestock products so that they thrive, livestock cultivation becomes more innovative and more advanced using methods of intensification, dependence on import substitution is reduced, the livestock business climate becomes more conducive, and the welfare of breeders improve.

In terms of quality, Justice Enny added, livestock products should meet highest health standards in order to avoid disease outbreaks. “Both of these are the Government’s responsibility to carry out endeavors and procedures that meet livestock health standards in accordance with the principles of caution and maximum safety,” she said.

At the preliminary hearing on Monday, November 14, 2022, the Petitioners argued that the PKH Law had been misinterpreted and misused to justify importation of animal products from countries that are not free from foot and mouth diseases (FMD), when it can only be justified temporarily. Despite the lack of urgency, the Government keeps importing animal products from those countries, resulting in the FMD outbreak.

The entry of FMD in Indonesia has resulted in losses among farmers, millions of whom are small-scale, whose cattle—cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep—and ducks/chickens serve as their economic resource, saving, and asset.

The Petitioners believed the entry of cheap meat from various countries that are not yet free from key FMDs would hit people’s cattle-farming businesses due to very low prices and, in the end, destroy the farmers’ economy, including the Petitioners. In their petitum, the Petitioners requested that the Court declare the phrase ‘in certain cases’ in the a quo article unconstitutional and not legally binding if not interpreted to mean “urgent situation due to disaster as per the Disaster Management Law.”

Writer        : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : M. Halim
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 2/2/2023 15:00 WIB

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 | 17:15 WIB 169