PUBLISHED ON: 30 October 2013
A terrified Australian sheep is thrown down violently and dragged by one leg across the rocky ground. Others lay dead and dying on the street around him. A foot stomps down on his neck. With a short blunt knife, his throat is sawn at, while his legs scramble in vain. When his throat is cut, he is left in the dirt, to bleed out, until he loses consciousness.
His suffering is over. But for other Australian sheep caught up in the chaos, it is just the beginning. Tragically, none of these animals should have been there.
Australian live exporters who send animals to Jordan are meant to ensure they are protected from such treatment and that they remain within approved supply chains. In fact, it is a condition of their export permit.
But during the Festival of Sacrifice (Eid al Adha) in Jordan this year, thousands of Australian sheep were sold and brutally killed - in the streets, in filthy make-shift slaughter rooms, in driveways and in backyards - in breach of Australian law. And rather than abiding by the rules, ear tags were removed from Australian animals en mass, so that they could not be traced back to the exporter responsible.
Australian exporter - Livestock Shipping Services, who supplies animals to its parent company in Jordan - was already being investigated for evidence showing widespread and recurring breaches of live export regulations, in Jordan, in June of this year. Now a further formal complaint has been lodged with the Department of Agriculture, backed by extensive evidence gathered by Animals Australia investigators.
One of the primary reasons for the introduction of new live export regulations was to ensure animals did not suffer the consequences of being offered for private sale and slaughter. This latest terrible vision provided to the Department of Agriculture from Jordan reveals the carnage that resulted from a complete disregard for these regulations.
Inconceivably, just days after this mass slaughter, another ship laden with Australian sheep was allowed to set sail for Jordan.
The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that an investigation is underway. The Australian Live Exporters Council (ALEC), along with individual exporters, have joined animal welfare groups in calling for the strongest possible regulatory response to these breaches.
The Department of Agriculture has immediate powers to ensure no further animals are put at risk while an investigation is underway. Every time an exporter wants to send a shipload of animals they must apply for a permit. Before approving these permits the Department must consider the exporter's past record of complying with regulations, and whether it is likely that the animals will be treated in accordance with regulations. If the Department has grounds for concern on either of these points, they have the power to deny the exporter a permit.
Australian animal protection groups have written to the Department requesting that they use their power to ensure that no more animals are placed at such grave risk of appalling cruelty in Jordan.
What's absolutely certain, is that the Department has been provided with strong evidence that shows outright contempt for Australian live export regulations.
How you can help
If it weren't for Animals Australia investigators, the Australian Government wouldn't even know that live exporters had breached regulations. And animals would be suffering in silence. Help us hold them to account.