Australia's livestock export sector has never been at a more precarious situation as the industry battles brutal and inhumane ways that the animal imports undergo in other countries.
The Australian government affirmed on Friday allegations of animal cruelty that involved two Australian live animal exporters owing to their business connection with Indonesian abattoirs, which reportedly slaughtered animals using sub-standard techniques.
Even as Canberra continues to protest the gory manner the 21,000 Australian sheep were culled in Pakistan last week, another potential problem for Australia live cow export looms as an Egyptian scientific committee recommended the cutting of the cattle's ears prior to their slaughter.
The recommendation is the result of the discovery of hormone growth promotants in some animals' ear and part of Egypt's crackdown on hormone injections in animals.
The recommendation has angered animal protection groups. Due to the reports of ear-cutting procedures in Egypt, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote to Australian Agriculture Minister to prohibit live animal export to Cairo.
"Egyptian authorities have demonstrated their mistrust of (hormones) and are likely to accept the findings of this scientific committee, leaving Australian cattle open to this extreme mutilation, most likely with no pain relief, prior to their final inhumane slaughter," WAToday quoted the PETA letter.
PETA has been at the forefront of the global battle to stop inhumane treatment of animals. The group has made public several videos such as the following that documents the brutal cull methods practiced by abattoirs:
Mr Ludwig's office declined to comment on the report pending the receipt of further advice from Egyptian authorities on any proposed action. Agriculture officials of both nations had previously met on the management of Aussie cattle, including the use of hormones.
Australian meat and animal exporters are required to follow national and international benchmarks on safety. The standards recognise that consumption of animals treated with hormones do not present any public health risk.
News of the ear-cutting practice is on the heels of a request made by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to conduct a probe into the brutal culling of the 21,000 Australian sheep last week. While Pakistan has denied the allegation, video footage that was aired by the TV programme Four Corners and also posted on YouTube confirmed the inhumane way the sheep were killed, contrary to an agreement between the Pakistani importer and Karachi authorities.
"I did raise with the prime minister of Pakistan my concern about the graphic and very cruel images we've seen of the treatment of Australian sheep . . . I explained to him that Australians are distressed to see these acts of cruelty and that I wanted the matter investigated," The Tribune quoted Ms Gillard, who is in Laos attending the European and Asian Leaders' Summit.
Farmers groups joined Ms Gillard in seeking an investigation into the brutal cull in Pakistan.
"As a farmer myself some of the footage that we saw last night, it really pulls the heart strings . . . We spend all the time nurturing stock and to see them treated like that is pretty devastating blow for farmers," The Australian quoted National Farmers Federation President Jock Laurie.
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