PRESS RELEASE: Cattle cruelty in Egypt systemic and routine

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On MAY 5, 2013

Graphic evidence of the appalling abuse of Australian cattle in Egypt has forced Australian live exporters to voluntarily suspend the live trade to that country.

“This was the only legitimate decision industry could take given the evidence clearly shows that the cruel treatment of cattle is systemic and routine, but it is cold comfort for the thousands of cattle who have already been brutally slaughtered and those who remain in Egypt,” said Animals Australia Communications Director, Lisa Chalk.

Animals Australia investigators travelled to Egypt in April 2013 after being contacted by an Egyptian veterinarian who was concerned about the cruel practices at both the Ain Sokhna and Ismailia abattoirs. Last week Animals Australia provided the Department of Agriculture with footage and eye witness testimony chronicling a horror story of routine abuse of Australian animals at both of these facilities - the only two in Egypt accredited to take Australian cattle.

The live trade with Egypt was suspended in 2006 after Animals Australia documented cattle having their leg tendons slashed and eyes stabbed at Cairo's Bassateen abattoir. The first shipments of Australian cattle returned to Egypt in 2010 after an MoU was signed with Egypt committing to treat Australian cattle in accordance with base line international standards and that animals would be restricted to 'approved' facilities.

“The tendon slashing of cattle in the notorious Bassateen abattoir is what led to the suspension of the cattle trade to Egypt in 2006 so Australians will be horrified to learn that Australian animals have again been subjected to such brutality.”

“The footage shows some horrific instances of cruelty, but disturbingly, it also reveals the systematic abuse inflicted on hundreds of Australian cattle each day in these slaughterhouses. They are subjected to restraint boxes that terrorise, traumatise and injure them before they have their throats brutally cut.”

"That these two facilities, and the inhumane equipment within them, were ever approved for Australian animals is damning. It has taken the efforts of a courageous Egyptian vet who has despaired at the treatment of animals in his country’s abattoirs, to expose the treatment our cattle have been receiving.”

“While it is easy to be horrified by the behaviour of the Egyptian workers, Australians should be equally horrified that our animals were ever placed at such risk again in a country that has an appalling track record in animal welfare.” 

"Rather than expressing their horror at the latest evidence from Egypt, our live export representatives should be hanging their heads in shame. They were the ones who inconceivably considered these facilities in Egypt ‘state-of-the-art’ and who failed to care enough to monitor the activities inside of them.”

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