Reports of Australian sheep outside approved supply chains and in public markets in Jordan are being investigated by exporters, Animals Australia and the Department of Agriculture.
Animals Australia communications director Lisa Chalk said investigators have obtained evidence of “no less than 1,000 Australian sheep” being offered for sale by livestock merchants in locations that have on numerous occasions been reported for Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System breaches. Animals in foreign markets are supposed to be slaughtered in ESCAS-approved abattoirs.
“Once again ear tags have been removed from sheep to prevent individual identification, which can link the animals to the exporter legally responsible for them.
“It is disappointing that once again it is up to Animals Australia to discover and report extensive breaches of live export regulations in Jordan,” Ms Chalk said.
“These livestock markets are the same locations reported by Animals Australia during last year’s Eid (Festival of Sacrifice) where Australian sheep were dragged, thrown, stuffed in car boots and brutally killed in the streets.
“All of these locations are primary selling points for private buyers during the Eid where animals will be subjected to trussing and transport in boots for home slaughter, or killed onsite.”
After the initial report was made to the Department of Agriculture by Animals Australia, ALEC chief executive officer, Alison Penfold, confirmed to Sheep Central that an exporter and the animal rights group had seen Australian sheep in public markets in Jordan, outside the approved ESCAS supply chain.
“Both have made reports to the Department of Agriculture and one exporter (Livestock Shipping Services) have issued a statement.
“Animals Australia and ALEC have been in a dialogue on this, so we are all treating it seriously and dealing with it the best we can,” she said
“This is a very disappointing development in our efforts in Jordan to prepare for Eid.
“We had flagged already (See earlier Sheep Central story) that we saw Jordan as a high risk market and unfortunately it has proved to be the case,” Ms Penfold said.
“We are treating the situation as if they are Australian animals.”
Ms Chalk said there was no doubt the sheep concerned were Australian.
“Our investigators are well aware of the defining attributes between Australian sheep and others, even when they are of similar breed.
“Also we have recorded many conversations with merchants confirming they are Australian and where they got them from.”
Animals Australia reported the significant ESCAS breaches to the department and to ALEC in the hope that they can stem further leakage to prevent cruel treatment of more animals over the coming days, she said. The department was provided with photographic evidence and locations.
“This will be our sixth formal legal complaint since June last year of recurring breaches in Jordan, resulting in dire repercussions for Australian animals.”
A Department of Agriculture spokesperson confirmed Animals Australia had reported leakage of sheep from the ESCAS system in Jordan.
“The Department of Agriculture, as the regulator of the livestock export trade, has issued an advice notice to all livestock exporters outlining their responsibility to be vigilant in delivering on their special management plans for Eid,” the spokesperson said.
“As the regulator of ESCAS the Department of Agriculture will review and assess all evidence provided about non-compliance with ESCAS
“We are currently working with exporters to address the reports of non-compliance in Jordan,” the statement said.
The department said the Eid Al-Adha festival, or Eid, is a high risk time for ESCAS non-compliance.
“Eid is one of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar and is a time where animals are slaughtered and the meat shared with family, friends and the needy.
“It is a time when private sale of Australian livestock at locations outside the facilities in the approved supply chain are more likely.”
Managing director of exporter Livestock Shipping Services, Ahmad Ghosheh, refuted any assertion the current allegations of leakage in Jordan related to the LSS supply chain. He said LSS had routinely over the last year recorded, investigated and reported on low levels of livestock leakage in the Jordan market, confirming the source as not related to the LSS supply chain.
LSS sheep identification procedures and stock movement records have been audited in the last seven days by MLA, he said.
“Any threat to the credibility of Australian supply chains in Jordan as a whole, through non-compliance, is a threat to the long term sustainability and viability of the Australian sheep market in Jordan, to Australian livestock producers and to the substantial company investment by LSS in the region.”