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Maltreatment of sheep continues unabated
July 29, 2015, 9:29 am

Chief Executive Officer of the Kuwait Livestock Trading & Transport (KLTTC) Company Engineer Osama Khalid Boudi in response to the claims made by an animal welfare group in Australia ‘Animals Australia’ said Australian sheep are being sold in a ‘notoriously cruel’ manner. They are tied up and shoved into car boots in 50 degree Celsius temperatures before being brutally slaughtered, reports Al-Rai daily.

Boudi stressed ‘the KLTTC is committed to the terms and conditions of the Australian government with regards to care provided to the imported Australian sheep distributed at all markets (1,200 million sheep annually) of which 700,000 are supplied to the Kuwaiti market and the remaining to other Gulf States. Boudi added, the Company is committed to the Australian government conditions of Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS) in terms of animal welfare, including the slaughter of sheep in approved slaughterhouses, kindness during transportation which is done in special vehicles and sheltering them at the company’s farms in Sulaibiya in line with international standards of health care and food.

According to the Daily Telegraph the Animals Australia has called on the Australian government to order the buyback of hundreds of live sheep exported to Kuwait after uncovering serious instances of animal cruelty and breaches of export laws. An estimated 500 merino sheep have arrived in Kuwait from New South Wales and other states in recent weeks for the annual Muslim Festival of the Sacrifice (Eid Al- Adha) in September. In keeping with tradition, animals involved in the festival are sacrificed before being shared among family, friends and neighbors and the poor and needy.

Animals Australia chief investigator Lyn White said the mistreatment of Australian sheep, including inhumane slaughter and torturous treatment in transit, had been comprehensively catalogued in Kuwait over recent years. Hidden camera footage captured last year shows sheep at the Al-Rai market in the capital, Kuwait City, being hobbled, thrown alive into the boot of cars in 50C-plus heat and being slaughtered in horrific conditions. Australian export laws mean Australian live exporters are responsible for the humane treatment of export animals from the time they leave our shores all the way through to their slaughter, the paper said. But Ms White said the cruelty had continued unabated, despite Animals Australia lodging six legal complaints with the government.

“Minister Joyce simply cannot allow this situation to go unaddressed,” she said. “If he does, in two months’ time we will once again be standing there filming shocking abuse of Australian sheep.” Shatha Hamade, another Animals Australia investigator who last week visited the market at the centre of allegations, said the situation for animals at the site had clearly not improved. “The fundamental problem is there is no government presence in importing countries, so the illegal sale of animals outside the approved supply chain has continued,” she said. A Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said the department received a complaint from Animals Australia on July 15 about the issue.

“The allegations are currently being investigated,” she said. The department said ESCAS had been in place in Kuwait since March, 2012, with more than 2.2 million sheep exported to the country since then. Investigations concluded that it was “highly likely” that sheep exported under ESCAS arrangements had been taken from approved facilities and moved to the Al Rai market. Animals Australia last week found hundreds of Australian sheep, many still with their Australian ear tags in place, awaiting slaughter in unregistered Kuwaiti premises.

Ms Hamade said the government had the power to suspend live exporters’ licences or suspend the use of a particular abattoir or facility in the importing country, but that rarely happened. “The only action taken by the Department of Agriculture has been to apply conditions on the licence of the exporter,” she said. “Those conditions clearly don’t work and yet the government refuses to take stronger action that is readily available to it.” Ms White said the government needed to order exporters to buy the animals back from Kuwaiti merchants before the festival began. “There is only one reason why Australian sheep continue to be sold in this cruel market. It’s because exporters believe they carry a getout- of-jail-free card. They have no reason to fear breaking the law,” she said.

Meanwhile, police have arrested a Kuwaiti for mercilessly beating a sheep seller inside the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh sheep market until the man fainted, reports Al-Shahed daily. A security source said when someone reported the incident to the Operations Room of the Ministry of Interior police rushed to the spot and took the man into custody. During initial interrogation the citizen said he went to purchase an ewe and the man sold him a lamb and he discovered this when he took the animal to the slaughterhouse. The victim has been admitted to the hospital and the citizen taken to the police station in the area.

Source: Arab Times

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