Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno has condemned the comments of an Australian senator who suggested that Bali’s streets are full of cow dung.
Pauline Hanson, a controversial political figure in Australia, addressed parliament about Indonesia’s current outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Her speech, peppered with her usual expletives, suggested that Bali’s streets are filled with cow dung that people are walking through constantly.
While foot and mouth disease can be transmitted through mud and dung infected with the virus, Bali’s streets are far from covered in cow dung. Agricultural authorities in Bali, along with farmers and rural communities are working hard to curb the outbreak.
Australia has implemented new screening measures to prevent the virus from reaching Australian pastures and has launched an AUD 14 million support package. While Indonesia’s practices for keeping livestock differ in many ways from Australia’s and there has been concern that the local response to the outbreak is a little slower than ideal, Hanson’s comments have been received as not only misguided but as baseless and offensive.
In her speech, Hanson said ‘ Bali is not like other countries…cattle sh*t on the ground, people walk in that sh*t, that sh*t is then bought back on their clothing and on their person and back into this country’. She posted a snippet of her speech on her Instagram page and the post has been commented on by over 35,000 people, many of whom are condemning her accusations. Many simply laugh at her misidentifying Bali as a country, since is an island of Indonesia.
One such commenter was Marvin Sulistio, a news anchor for Metro TV who wrote ‘Pardon me Madame senator, think it’s not appropriate to mention nor judge Bali based on whatever sources you recalled before. We welcome you to Indonesia-especially the city of Bali, to experience the true value of my hometown. In addition to calm the fiasco-Bali is not a country, Indonesia is and we love our country and its cities. Each and every single of them’.
An Indonesian blogger, Febrian commented ‘Come to Bali and see for yourself. How come you speak something not based on reality’.
The Indonesian Minister for Tourism Sandiaga Uno has publicly condemned Hanson’s comments and denied any accuracy to her statements. He reposted a comedy skit made by Australian-Indonesian digital creator Damian Hoo.
Uno wrote ‘What an Australian senator @senatorpaulinehanson said is not based on facts. I firmly and straightforwardly tell you to never insult Bali, the icon and the heart of Indonesia’s tourism. I’d like to thank Mr. Damian Hoo (@hoointheworld) an Australian citizen who directly broke the Senator’s statement. Bali has now risen and the work field has been created again. Do not disturb the calm, let alone our economic recovery with untrue speech.’
Minister Uno went on to write in a more informal tone ‘Hey, FYI Bali is not a country.. must not have been an IPS [social science] kid. Next time check first Mr Google. Thank you suksma’.
In the comedy video, Damian Hoo can be seen looking for cows in Bali. He asks some local men where he can find the cows and one leads him to a field. Hoo then pretends to stamp his feet in cow dung. He then says that he’s ready to go home to Australia.
While is video is targeted to discredit Hanson’s statements, it is not advisable to intentionally stand in cow dung in Bali at this time. Travelers are being reminded to disinfect their shoes before traveling home to Australia and if they are unable to clean their shoes throughly it is being advised that travelers leave their shoes behind. These simple precautions help support the efforts already being undertaken by Bali’s agricultural sector to halt the spread of the virus in cattle.
The Agriculture and Food Safety Department of Bali Province I Wayan Sunada responded to Hanson’s comments by saying ‘We are working hard to deal with PMK [foot and mouth] in Bali. If you say that Bali is the cause of PMK transmission in Australia, that is a lie. Not true. We feed the cows well, the manure is processed into organic fertilizer. Where is [manure on the streets]?’.
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