IN THE NEWS: On NOV 7, 2012
AUSTRALIAN cattle sent to Egypt will not have their ears cut off before slaughter, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has confirmed.
Animal rights' groups had suggested cattle could be subjected to mutilation after Egyptian authorities detected Hormone Growth Promotants (HGPs) in the ears of some stock.
One group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote to Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig urging him to place a ban on all shipments of Australian animals to Egypt to stop the mutilation.
But DAFF on Wednesday said the Egyptian government had confirmed the exported cattle with HGPs would only have their ears removed after slaughter.
"DAFF has been advised that Egyptian General Organisation of Veterinary Services veterinarians have removed implant pellets from cattle but the ears have not been removed," the statement said.
Thousands of cattle destined for Egyptian abattoirs were stopped before their slaughter earlier this year when authorities reportedly detected and became suspicious of HGPs in the ears of some animals.
DAFF said the safety of HGPs registered in Australia for use in cattle had been "rigorously assessed" and assured by global bodies like the World Health Organisation (WHO).
PETA's campaign coordinator Claire Fryer said it was still unclear whether the cattle would have the ear implants removed before or after slaughter.
That process would still likely involve pain and distress for the animals, she said.
"PETA investigators have seen firsthand how cattle are treated in Egypt so we have little faith that this procedure would remotely be humane," Ms Fryer said in a statement to AAP.
She said PETA were still waiting for a response on this matter from Minister Ludwig's office.