Author Topic: Industry claims ESCAS did not apply to cattle in Israel - that's all right then  (Read 810 times)

Export News Tasmania

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This is the same Elders that send a shipload of hapless dairy cattle to Pakstan on the 40 year old rustbucket the Torrens (aka Farid F) at the time 21,000 Australian sheep were brutally massacred...

Export News Tasmania

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Live export industry says Israeli cruelty may have preceded new welfare rules

The Federal Agriculture Department has ordered Australian live cattle exporter Elders to immediately commission another audit on an Israeli abattoir, tied up in an animal abuse case. Footage of cattle being inhumanely treated in the abattoir that slaughters Australian cattle was broadcast on ABC's 7.30 program last night.

DAFF says it's trying to confirm if the cattle are Australian and is working with Israeli authorities, as well as Meat and Livestock Australia and the Australian Livestock Exporters Council.

It can't give a timeframe on how long it might take to identify the origin of the cattle.

Elders has asked the Israeli abattoir to terminate the employment of staff with involvement in the incidents depicted in the footage.
The abattoir in question is approved under the government's new welfare standards for live exports, the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System.

But Peter Kane, chair of the Australian Livestock Exporters Council, says ESCAS has only just come into place in Israel and he believes the footage was filmed prior to that.

"It's highly unlikely that any of those cattle that were processed on that footage last night, even if they were Australian, were cattle subject to the new ESCAS rules," he said.

"The ESCAS rules in Israel only came into play for shipments from Australia after August 31 this year.

"The processing of those animals that have been shipped since then has only started to occur in the last two or three weeks, we believe after that footage was taken."

 But the RSPCA's chief scientist Bidda Jones says the abattoir was audited in July and the ESCAS system isn't working.

"How it could possibly be working when an auditor could go into a facility where the workers simply do not know how to handle animals appropriately and say that it's ok?

"How can that happen in a system that's supposed to be assuring the Australian public that the welfare Australian animals is being protected?"

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig says the images of cruelty in an Israeli abattoir are very distressing, but it's still unclear if they were Australian cattle.  He says his department is investigating and co-operating with the Israel's criminal investigation authorities.
He says the industry has made dramatic improvements to animal welfare in its overseas markets with the Exporter Supply chain Assurance System.

"If there are breaches, however they come to our notice, the regulator is there to address them," he said.
"Can I then use this opportunity of saying that if people have breached ESCAS, bring it to the attention of government, and the government will take a dim view."

Senator Ludwig says while the abattoir had passed the first step in the ESCAS approval, it's not clear if mistreatment was before or after the supply chain system being put in place.

So the first initial audit was about whether it can meet the relevant supply chain standards.
"What would then happen ordinarily is that live animal exports would go into that markets, they'd have multiple audits to ensure they were meeting the supply chain."

Elders has confirmed it exports live cattle to the Israeli abattoir tied up in the animal abuse case.

Elders International Trading says an independent audit was conducted in July at Israel's largest abattoir, Bakar Tnuva, confirming the facility met Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System requirements.

In a statement, Elders says the Israeli market is a new one for the company and represents 2 per cent of its live export activities.
"Elders has delivered two consignments of cattle to the facility, the first in August 2012 and more recently in November 2012, and confirms all cattle supplied typically remain in feedlots for approximately 100 days before processing, with the first Elders International Trading supplied cattle being processed on November 18, 2012," the statement said.

Elders has asked the importer to terminate the employment of managerial and operational staff involved in the footage.

It wants CCTV installed at the abattoir and says Australian training consultants have arrived in Israel to provide a risk assessment of the abattoir's processes and procedures.

Elders says another independent audit will be conducted.

By Caitlyn Gribbin
 Wednesday, 12/12/2012
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 05:24:55 PM by Export News Tasmania »