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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News October 17, 2013, 09:49:04 PM

: Two Western Australian live exporters under investigation ...again
: WA Export News October 17, 2013, 09:49:04 PM
(    Allegations threaten industry.

PRESSURE is again on live exporters and the live export industry following claims of breaches of protocol by Animals Australia.
WA live exporters Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) and Wellard Rural Exports are under investigation by the Department of Agriculture for allegations that 10,000 sheep were being sold outside of Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) supply chains in Jordan and Kuwait.

The complaint concerning Jordan includes allegations that sheep exported from Australia under ESCAS have been held at up to 30 locations outside approved supply chains.
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The complaint regarding Kuwait alleges that some Australian sheep are available for sale at the Al Rai market in Kuwait.

As part of the standard regulatory investigation processes, the department says it has contacted Jordanian and Kuwaiti authorities and affected exporters.

Australian Livestock Exporters' Council (ALEC) chief executive Alison Penfold said the council was deeply concerned by the welfare implications of the allegations made by Animals Australia.

"Our gravest concern at any time, but particularly during the religious Festival of Eid al Adha is that Australian livestock could exit controlled facilities where we cannot assure welfare," Ms Penfold said.

"We know that this could mean animals being placed in car boots, and slaughtered in backyards at home circumstances that simply do not meet acceptable welfare standards."

Ms Penfold stressed that the investigation was ongoing and that at the moment they remain as "allegations".

However, she has recommended the Department to complete its investigation urgently and if the allegations prove to be true, the exporters should be struck by the full brunt of the law. 

"Should these allegations be proven then we expect nothing less than any failure to comply with the Federal regulations (ESCAS) to be called out publicly and tough penalties applied to the exporter or exporters
responsible for the supply chains at fault," she said.

Ms Penfold said this was a particularly challenging time of year for livestock exporters managing supply chains with additional demand and pressure for livestock as a result of Eid al Adha which takes place over the last week. 

"This period represents a high risk period for unsatisfactory animal welfare practices being applied to Australian sheep and goats in overseas markets and potential leakages outside approved supply chains," she said.

"In recognition of this higher risk and in addition to the normal day-to-day oversight provided, exporters have been putting in place a specially designed management program for this year's Eid festival period which is focused on building livestock handling systems and putting in place extra control arrangements to assure welfare of Australian livestock in approved supply chains. 

"Additional exporter staff and Australian welfare consultants have been deployed to the Middle East and South East Asia and are on the ground now at facilities to ensure that Australian livestock are treated humanely while respecting the religious and cultural significance of this festival. 

"Unfortunately, this is little consolation in the face of such serious allegations in two supply chains."

In a statement, Animals Australia said Australian sheep were being offered for sale in road-side markets in Jordan and Kuwait.

Animals Australia said during the past week in Jordan, its investigators had "documented thousands of Australian sheep being offered for private purchase and sacrifice outside of approved supply chains".

The animal welfare group said it provided evidence to the Department of Agriculture four months ago showing the widespread illegal on-selling of Australian sheep from many of the same locations.

In Kuwait, Animals Australia says its investigators witnessed hundreds of Australian sheep being sold at the Al Rai livestock market, also in breach of Australian regulations.

"These are not isolated incidents resulting from a religious festival. This is the third time in just over 12 months that Animals Australia has alerted the Department to illegal on-selling at this market," Animals Australia
campaign director Lyn White said.

"Despite additional conditions placed on the exporters involved, they have again failed to stop sheep being sold to this market."

Animals Australia says it immediately reported the situation witnessed in Jordan and Kuwait to the Department of Agriculture and has also advised Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

It says it's calling on the Abbott government to "urgently address the ongoing circumvention of Australian live export regulations".

A Wellard Rural Exports spokesperson said the company was aware of the supply chain issues encountered in Jordan. 

"The company has staff in Jordan monitoring animal welfare and supply chain integrity," the spokesperson said.

"Wellard has confidence in both its customer's animal welfare procedures and monitoring and is redoubling its efforts to ensure both the company and the Australian public retains that confidence."

LSS managing director Ahmad Ghosheh was contacted for comment

 17 Oct, 2013 01:00 AM TYSON CATTLE (