May 4, 2013 – 2:20PM
The Australian livestock sector is again reeling after the emergence of new footage showing extreme cattle cruelty in Egyptian abattoirs.
The abuse occurred in the same Egyptian slaughterhouses the Australian industry has previously described as “state of the art”.
Exports of Australian livestock to Egypt have been suspended following the release of the footage by animal welfare group Animals Australia.
The group has handed the graphic evidence to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, which subsequently released a statement confirming it had received a complaint of animal cruelty.
“The department has already consulted with the Egyptian authorities and has formally requested an investigation in line with the Memorandum of Understanding on the Handling and Slaughter of Australian Live Animals between our two countries,” the statement said.
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has promised the investigation and said Egyptian authorities were being cooperative.
But the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council has voluntarily suspended exports to Egypt, saying the abuse took place at two abattoirs.
Chief executive Alison Penfold said no Australian animals would be going into the Egyptian slaughterhouses until proper standards are met.
“I feel distraught. These acts are horrific. The outrageous cruelty has left me and my industry colleagues disgusted and horrified,” she said.
“No one in our industry, and no Australian, accepts such treatment of animals, and I believe the Egyptian authorities will not tolerate this.”
One incident was videoed in October last year and another in April this year.
The first video shows a vicious and clumsy slaughter of an injured animal. The other footage reveals cruel and shocking practices throughout the slaughtering process.
The footage has not yet been released publicly.
About 3,000 Australian cattle remain in Egyptian feedlots where they are waiting to be processed.
The live trade was previously suspended with Egypt in 2006, following footage being released then showing cattle having their tendons slashed before slaughter.
Exports to Egypt resumed four years later and Australian live export industry has since repeatedly assured the public that standards have improved there.
Live cattle trade to Indonesia was briefly suspended in 2011 following public outcry in response to a Four Corners’ expose of slaughterhouse cruelty there.
Live exports were again under the spotlight late last year after shipload of sheep were rejected then subjected to cruelty in Pakistan.
The latest incident has renewed calls for a ban of all live exports.
“This latest evidence of brutality in the slaughter of Australian cattle in two Egyptian abattoirs, obtained by Animals Australia, is the last straw,” Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said.
“Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig should move to quickly transition away from live exports and establish an overdue independent Office of Animal Welfare.” Courtesy Fairfax Media
Published: Zarai Media Team