A ship-shape deal for shipped sheep
The Australian sheepmeat industry today outlined its strategy to ensure the welfare of Australian sheep in major Middle Eastern markets, including during the upcoming religious festival Eid al Adha*.
The move follows prolonged public outcry over alleged mistreatment of sheep sent to the Middle East for slaughter.
Under a ‘no private sales’ policy, sheep will not be taken for private slaughter in the Middle East. Instead, they will be processed in nearby or onsite facilities which comply with international animal welfare standards.
Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) Chairman Peter Kane said the agreement to end private sales in these markets was a ‘groundbreaking decision and represented a significant cultural shift for these countries’.
Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) President Kate Joseph said ‘industry has been proactively working in Australia’s major sheep export markets – Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait – to address potential welfare issues, including during this year’s Eid al Adha celebration’.
The plan comes ahead of the implementation of a new regulatory framework in 2012 for Australian livestock exports, announced last week in the Australian Government’s response to the Farmer Review.
The Farmer Review recommended the implementation of new guidelines assuring that Australian animals are only exported to audited supply chains that meet global animal welfare standards.
*Eid al Adha is one of the largest annual celebrations on the Muslim calendar. During the festival, Muslims are required to sacrifice animals as an act of obedience to Allah. One third of the meat from these animals is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one third is given away to friends and one third is donated to the poor. It will be observed this year between November 6 and 9.