Australian sheep were shipped to Jordan to be sold for slaughter during the Festival Eid held in July, with Animals Australia alleging that at some point a breach of the ESCAS animal welfare requirements occurred.
No official statement has clarified whether the sheep were transported prior to the prohibited travel period of the Northern Summer months.
NSW Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party Mark Pearson has questioned why the sheep were exported to begin with, given Australian law prohibits live sheep exports to or through the Middle East between 1 June and 14 September.
“If the sheep were exported prior to 1 June, I would like to know how long they waited in holding pens before slaughter and whether this wait was intentional in the lead up to Eid,” Mr Pearson said in a letter to Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud on Monday, 2 August.
In the letter, Mr Pearson called for a complete ban on live export, as well as detailed information on the incident.
“I urge the Minister to end this vile trade once and for all given the endless, sickening and unnecessary suffering and death of so many innocent animals over the last forty years,” Mr Pearson wrote in his letter.
Mr Pearson said based on repeated incidents over the years, he assumed the latest breach was in regard to the “unauthorised and cruel” treatment and slaughter of sheep during the Festival of Eid.
“It is well known that during this time, cultural and religious practices require the sacrifice killing of live sheep and this often involves sheep being taken to private homes for killing and butchering by unlicensed or trained individuals,” Mr Pearson said.
“This is an illegal act in Australia and there is no excuse for it to occur to Australian sheep exported to other countries.”
The facility in question has not been named but is understood to be an abattoir.
“Whether this incident took place at an abattoir, or the abattoir allowed unlicensed home-butchering of these sheep, we cannot keep risking sending Australian animals overseas to be slaughtered,” Mr Pearson said.
Mr Pearson’s comments come after Department of Agriculture Water and Environment confirmed it contacted an Australian exporter on July 28 and directed it to cease supply of sheep to an export-approved facility in Jordan.
According to the RSPCA, the exporter, Livestock Shipping Services (LSS), has breached live export regulations 44 times, the highest number of breaches of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) framework.
Elena Wewer – 0428 444 132