In a formal complaint to the Department of Agriculture, Animals Australia has provided evidence of Australian sheep being sold openly by four merchants at the notorious Al Rai market in Kuwait City.
In November 2010, Al Rai was the scene of some of the most shocking animal cruelty documented by our investigators. After Animals Australia exposed the horrendous slaughter of Australian cattle in Indonesia, new live export regulations were imposed. Under these new regulations, exported Australian animals have to be handled and slaughtered within approved supply chains in importing countries that meet basic animal welfare standards.
The terrible treatment that Animals Australia documented in Al Rai Market was a compelling factor in the Gillard government implementing regulations that cover all importing nations. These regulations prohibit the on selling of animals to individual buyers so animals are not transported in boots, or horrendously slaughtered in private premises – and place the responsibility for ensuring that animals remain within approved supply chains on the exporter. That hundreds of Australian sheep have continued to be offered for sale at Al Rai market reveals the exporter's complete disregard for their regulatory responsibilities to protect animals from such inhumane treatment.
The local investigator witnessed at least 200 Australian animals being sold openly at the market, including an Australian sheep being dragged across a cement slaughter floor and laid on top of dead sheep. The slaughterman then used a short knife to saw at the conscious animal's throat.
Evidence is mounting that Australian government regulations cannot protect animals from extreme suffering in the live export trade. In the last three weeks, two importing countries in the Middle East have disregarded their obligations to unload Australian animals, and now Australian sheep are being openly sold at a notoriously cruel livestock market, in breach of regulations.
The government's attempts to protect the welfare of Australian livestock are dependent on importers and exporters playing by the rules. They clearly cannot be trusted to do so. If exporters continue to ignore their regulatory obligations, the Gillard government should do what the vast majority of Australians have been long calling on governments to do – and that is end the live export trade.
Animals Australia is calling on the government to impose the strongest possible penalty on the exporters, to send a clear message to others that failing to meet their legal obligations will not be tolerated.
While live exports continue, animals will continue to suffer –- at sea and on foreign shores. You can speak up for these animals and lobby to prevent further cruelty by urging your local MP to push for a ban on live exports.