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Exporters actively preparing for Eid al Adha in destination markets

2 October 2014

With the annual Islamic religious festival of Eid al Adha/Korban set to commence in a matter of days, exporters are active in the market preparing management systems for this busy demand period for livestock, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council Alison Penfold said today.

“Australian exporters have again this year been working directly with our customers and facility staff to implement livestock management systems to manage the animal welfare challenges of this peak demand period across markets in the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia.

“The focus of exporters is on minimising the risk of poor welfare practices and outcomes and responding as quickly as possible to any breakdowns in management systems. A range of strategies have been implement to tailor systems to meet market needs and risks including:-

– Pre-Eid training and support by exporters and Live Export Program consultants to prepare facilities and staff in the requirements for Australian livestock management systems and welfare requirements

– Implementation of carcase only sales systems in Qatar, the trialling of the system for the first time in Kuwait and Oman and a ticket sales system in the UAE (which operates year round) which prevents the general public from accessing live animals for home slaughter

– Restricted supply chains and livestock sales systems to reduce access to Australian livestock in other markets and ensure Australian livestock are only slaughtered at approved facilities

– In Jordan and Kuwait, where there are higher risks of leakage, sheep have been paint marked to indicate the abattoirs to which they are destined

– Encouraging and supporting charity slaughtering whereby large numbers of Australian sheep are processed at ESCAS facilities and distributed to the poor. This removes individual sales and selection pressures; and

– Additional exporter and LEP consultants in market during Eid/Korban to oversee and manage systems in cooperation with customers and facilities and deal with problems as they arise.

“Millions of animals will be slaughtered over the Eid/Korban period including livestock from Africa, Europe and South America. Australian livestock will only make up a small percentage of these numbers but despite this, Australia is the only country putting in place special measures focused on ensuring the welfare of Australian livestock during this peak demand period.

“No other country in the world does anything similar, indeed, anything at all. We believe these measures are even unique to Australia where Eid is also celebrated.

“The fact that we have gone to significant effort to prepare special arrangements has in fact placed a target on our head – not only for activists who do not support the trade regardless of our in market efforts to improve welfare and take responsibility for the livestock we export – but also for our trade competitors who wish to profit from any exit by us from the market.”

Ms Penfold said that despite exporter efforts, no system is foolproof and the greatest risk to the welfare of Australian livestock during Eid/Korban is leakage from approved supply chains.

“We are very cognisant of our responsibility to control access to Australian livestock in approved supply chains and are acutely aware of the community’s concern and interest to ensure the welfare of Australian exported livestock.

“We are focused on our responsibilities but it is important that the Australian public are aware that the demand for Australian livestock is so strong but availability so limited that black marketeers can be expected to seek to profit from Australia’s efforts to limit general public access to livestock. This is not a failure of the ESCAS system but a representation of the instances where our standards, expectations and directives have not been respected by others.

“Any instances of leakage or poor welfare practices are in no way condoned, approved or endorsed by exporters and where evidence is found, action will be taken.

Further information on industry preparations for Eid al Adha/Korban can be found in the attached Information Brief.

Ends

Contact: Alison Penfold (0408 633 026)

Download PDF here.