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Cattle welfare talks in Egypt

22 November 2006

EGYPT - Staff and consultants from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and LiveCorp are currently in Egypt following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Egypt and Australia, a necessary step in resumption of Australian live exports to Egypt.

The purpose of their visit is to develop enhanced standards of traceability and improved animal welfare for Australian cattle after they arrive in Egypt.

“Unfortunately, there are many animal welfare concerns in Egypt involving different animal species”, said Nigel Brown, Meat and Livestock Australia’s Livestock Services Manager for the Middle East and Africa.

“While we limit our activities to those affecting the livestock we export, we also try and ensure there are incremental, roll-on effects to animal welfare in general – as we did in our recent workshop in Egypt,” he added.

Meat & Livestock Australia and LiveCorp believe in working with governments and NGOs to raise public awareness and provide effective training to improve animal welfare. Last month an MLA/LiveCorp workshop in Cairo provided a solid foundation in fundamental animal welfare for staff of different organisations, including the Egyptian Society for Animal Friends (ESAF), the General Organisation of Veterinary Services GOVS and abattoir personnel.

Recently a quote from Ahmed el Sherbiny, chairperson of ESAF, a short section from a more complete letter of his views, was widely quoted.

It was misinterpreted by some readers to indicate he supports live export, and, as a result, several people have verbally attacked Sherbiny and some funders have indicated their grave concerns over cooperation with MLA.

“Ahmed Sherbiny is naturally upset that at this turn of events,” said Dr Brown.

“I am very saddened that the good work of his charity for animal welfare could suffer because he has tried to find common ground with us for improvements in livestock welfare.”

Following the misinterpretation El Sherbiny said: “I do not support live export. But I am a pragmatist working for animals in a difficult environment.

“The training program seeks to alleviate some of the suffering animals endure through our past practices.

“We are doing our best to replace the concept of live animal exports with carcass imports.”

Dr Brown said: “Providing animal husbandry support to raise standards of animal welfare has long been an important component of the Australian technical support provided in the region.

“Our current objective is to identify abattoirs with good animal welfare standards and ensure that animals from Australia go through those facilities.

“The MLA approach to animal welfare concerns is to work with local authorities to provide technical support in the broadest sense.

“A new Animal Welfare Unit has been formed within Egypt’s GOVS and they are currently developing codes of practice for animal welfare based on OIE standards – the World Animal Health organisation.

“They are also developing strategies to improve animal welfare which include the discussions with Al Azhar University, the premier seat of religious learning in Cairo, to place religious inspectors in abattoirs to ensure religious requirements regarding animal welfare are met as well,” Dr Brown concluded.

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Source: tradearabia.com



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