Live exports to Egypt has been suspended in the wake of new cruelty footage showing the mistreatment of Australian cattle.
Federal Agricultural Minister, Joe Ludwig, has described the recent footage of Australian cattle in Egypt as “sickening”, but claims that the recent reform to the livestock export system is working, as reported by Beef Central.
The footage was brought to the government’s attention by animal rights group, Animals Australia, which is fuelling a debate as to whether checks and balances in the new regulatory system are working.
Ludwig has defended the reform, stating that the new system has given the community confidence that exported animals are treated with respect.
“What’s actually in place is a system that ensures that where there are complaints, we investigate those individual complaints; we look at what happens and then the department of agriculture, the regulator in these circumstances, then holds the exporters to account,” he said.
Ludwig supported the decision by Australian live export leaders to suspend trade into Egypt and said that cattle producers would be disturbed by the footage.
“It’s the sensible course of action to do at this junction,” he said. “What we now will do is conduct an investigation of these circumstances and until such time that is concluded I expect industry will continue to suspend live animal exports into that market.”
Ludwig said that he has been advocating for improved animal welfare standards to international bodies and foreign governments.
“In Indonesia and right across in all countries that I’ve spoken to respond very well to that. Nobody wants to see the mistreatment of animals in supply chains.”
Animals Australia has indicated that the media now has access to the footage and expects it to be broadcast this week.