Middle East conference provides hope for animals

Animals Australia has played a key role in a ground-breaking animal welfare conference held in Cairo.


PUBLISHED ON: 22 October 2008

Animals advocates throughout the Middle East (ME) and international advocates from Animals Australia, WSPA, Compassion in World Farming, Best Friends, Humane Society International, RSPCA UK, Animal People attended the three-day conference.

"I was enormously pleased to observe how Animals Australia's investigations in the region have underpinned the calls of Middle Eastern advocates for much-needed animal protection laws," said Glenys Oogjes, Animals Australia's Executive Director who attended the conference.

A number of key recommendations resulted from the conference including a call on governments and civil society in the ME region to:

  1. Recognise animals as sentient beings by supporting the Universal
    Declaration on Animal Welfare
  2. Implement the OIE guidelines on animal transport and slaughter
  3. Work towards alternatives for long distance transport of live animals for
  4. Adopt and implement animal welfare legislation that protects animals from
    cruelty and suffering, institutes clear enforcement provisions and that
    reflects the content of these resolutions, and to review and amend existing
    and pending legislation affecting animals to bring them into compliance with these resolutions

"Animals Australia's focus may be on the welfare of Australian animals, but our concern about animals exported to the Middle East has resulted in the gathering of key evidence that is being used to improve the lives of all animals in the region.

"Middle Eastern governments are being lobbied by international and local organisations backed by video footage obtained by Animals Australia. We are very close to having one terrible facility closed down which will save thousands of animals from brutal treatment.

"The impact in Egypt of our work was obvious. The absence of Australian animals in Egypt during the lead up to the Feast of Sacrifice due to animal welfare concerns was being broadly discussed in the Egyptian media. Australia's live export industry would like us to believe that if we stop supplying animals they will be replaced by imports from other countries. We now again have proof of how willing the live export spokespeople are to mislead the public to protect their cruel industry. Australian animals were not replaced in Egypt — instead they imported chilled meat and considerably fewer animals were therefore available for home slaughter leading to a significant reduction in animal suffering.

"Importantly Middle Eastern animal welfare advocates are themselves saying live export must stop — that it is wrong, cruel and immoral — and that their countries can be convinced to import chilled meat if live animals are not readily available."

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