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The release of a government investigation into export abattoirs in Egypt has again highlighted the continuing risks of live exports for slaughter.

Last May Animals Australia provided the government with shocking evidence of Australian cattle suffering in two Egyptian abattoirs.  The horrific vision showed cattle being stabbed in the face and eyes, having their tendons slashed and being restrained in slaughter boxes that turn them upside down before having their throats cut while fully conscious. Trade to the country was suspended.

The Department of Agriculture report found that the arrangements in place did not consistently protect Australian cattle sent to the Ain Sokhna and Ismailia abattoirs, despite a long-standing agreement with the Egyptian authorities that minimum animal welfare standards would be met.   It is clear from this report that the Australian Government and live exporters failed in their duty of care to the Australian animals exported.

These arrangements were originally put in place in response to appalling cruelty exposed at Cairo’s Basateen abattoir in 2006.  When the Government re-opened the trade in 2008, RSPCA Australia highlighted serious animal welfare concerns about the restraint boxes used in these facilities. This report confirms these fears, yet inversion slaughter boxes continue to be approved under the governments Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS). 

The RSPCA is urging the government to remove all inversion slaughter boxes from approved supply chains and review its internal approval processes under ESCAS.

Media contact: Elise Meakin, 0419 748 907, emeakin@rspca.org.au

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