Author Topic: Industry struggling to explain torture in "state of the art" slaughterhouses.  (Read 2578 times)

WA Export News

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Live exports to Egypt suspended amid cruelty probe

Australian livestock exports to Egypt have been suspended following the release of footage showing extreme animal cruelty during the slaughter process.

The video was obtained by animal welfare organisation Animals Australia, which passed it on to the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

"I was horrified," DAFF's deputy secretary Philip Glyde said. "I don't think anyone could condone the mistreatment of animals, let alone the cruelty that appears to have occurred in this footage.

    Cattle in an Indonesian feedlot height=227 Photo: Livestock exports to Egypt have been suspended while DAFF launches an investigation. (ABC Rural, file image)

"It's quite shocking. We have to go back and think again about why and how this has happened and need to take corrective action to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The industry has attempted to limit the fallout, by announcing it has voluntarily suspended exports to the country.

But it is also struggling to explain how the abuse could happen at the very same facilities it has previously described as "state of the art".

The council's CEO Alison Penfold has told the ABC's AM program the suspension is not an empty gesture.

"We are very genuine about the suspension," she said. "There will be no animals going into those facilities until the standards are met."

She also said the footage, which has not been made public, was horrific.

"It shows in one facility a clumsy and callous emergency slaughter of an injured animal," she said. "In the other facility, it shows appalling practices during the slaughter process."
Some 3,000 cattle remain in feedlots waiting to be processed and DAFF has urged Egyptian authorities to keep them safe while they investigate.

Responding to the latest problems with the live export trade, Federal Minister for Agriculture Senator Joe Ludwig insisted that animal welfare remains paramount.

He also praised the industry for their swift reaction.

"It's sickening to find that this has happened again," he said. "Industry has stepped up and they've voluntarily suspended the trade into Egypt.

"One of the things that we want to drive home into industry is that they do have to continue to drive for animal welfare outcomes if this trade is to have a bright future.

"I think the industry in this instance has responded very quickly to these complaints to ensure that animal welfare is taken into account."

The live cattle trade with Egypt has a controversial and bloody history.

In 2006, the Egyptian trade was suspended after video showed cattle having their tendons slashed before slaughter.

Four years later, trade resumed under strict conditions, where cattle could only go into approved systems. 

Asked what action would be taken and how many more chances the industry would be granted given their track record, Senator Ludwig said: "This is a area where there will be problems, there will be mistakes.

"The huge difference between when it was left to industry to regulate is that we now have a regulator that can investigate individual supply chains, hold the exporters to account, remedy the circumstances that arise from time to time.

"DAFF will investigate it. They are the regulator. They will work with the Egyptian authorities.

"They will use the current MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). Egyptian authorities are also dismayed and are willing to work properly with us."

« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 03:55:32 PM by WA Export News »