Exports to Egypt Resume in Face of Cruelty

AUSTRALIA - Australia has agreed to resume live cattle exports to Egypt after a two year ban, which was put in place as a protest after allegations of cruel Egyptian animal treatment.
calendar icon 9 May 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

According to the International Herald Tribune the Australian Agriculture Minister Tony Burke, who planned to announce the agreement later Friday, told Fairfax newspapers that resumption of exports will be subject to strict conditions, including the cattle being handled according to international standards and slaughtered only at a new "high-quality" facility.

Exports were halted abruptly in 2006 after the previous government reacted to a television documentary showing cattle having their tendons slashed and their eyes poked out by Egyptian cattlemen.

"Vision showed cattle being pushed off trucks and stabbed in the eyes and tendons"
RSPCA Australia Scientific Officer, Melina Tensen

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has already condemned the recent decision, labelling it a commercial move and saying there was no guarantee that the animals would be handled and slaughtered humanely.

“The Rudd Government should be phasing out the export of live animals for slaughter, not expanding the trade into regions with a proven record of disgraceful animal cruelty,” RSPCA Australia Scientific Officer, Melina Tensen said.

“Public pressure forced the Government to suspend the trade to Egypt after revelations of shocking treatment of cattle in that country. Vision showed cattle being pushed off trucks and stabbed in the eyes and tendons.

“The sad reality is that cruel handling practices are occurring right now all throughout the Middle East, yet the Rudd Government not only allows the trade to continue but is supporting its expansion.

“The Government is doing this on the assumption that the live export industry is vital to the Australian economy despite the fact that there has actually been no proper economic analysis into an alternative meat-only trade.

“Both the Government and the live export industry also conveniently ignore the fact that during the suspension to Egypt, beef exports from Australia to Egypt doubled to the value of more than $2.3 million in 2006/07.

“While the Government claims the new abattoir in Egypt meets international animal welfare standards, there is absolutely no guarantee that, without continuous close monitoring, animals will be handled and slaughtered humanely.

“RSPCA Australia is calling on the Government to stop stalling and put animal welfare ahead of the bottom line.”

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