Australian officials have launched an investigation into allegations that sheep exported live from Australia are being sold outside approved supply chains in Jordon and Kuwait.
The Department of Agriculture (DAFF) said it had received complaints from welfare group Animals Australia, including the allegation that around 10,000 sheep exported to Jordan under the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) were being held in 30 non-approved locations. The complaint also alleged that Australian sheep were being sold at the Al Rai market in Kuwait.
DAFF said it had contacted the authorities in Jordan and Kuwait, as well as the exporters of the sheep. It added that the upcoming festival of Eid was a high risk period for ESCAS non-compliance.
Animals Australia said its inspectors had documented thousands of sheep being sold illegally for ritual sacrifice in Jordan and Kuwait, with vendors attempting to conceal the identity of exporters though the mass removal of ear tags from Australian sheep in the region.
The organisation first warned DAFF that sheep were being sold illegally in Jordon in June.
Australian Greens spokesperson for animal welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon said abuse of live export rules in Jordan and Kuwait was further proof that the ESCAS model was a failed and unworkable system, and called for a total ban on live exports. She added that she would introduce legislation to ban live exports once parliament resumed.
Source: The Australian Department of Agriculture (DAFF)