Today thousands of Australia’s sheep await their government’s decision on how, when or if they will be shipped across the ocean to the heat-blazed summer of the Middle East.
The waiting sheep are destined for ritual slaughter at Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice), the second of the great Eid festivities, and one of the holiest days for Muslims. The celebrations begin on the tenth day of the last of the 12 months in the Islamic calendar – this year that day is Tuesday, 21 August…a little over a month away.
In Australia, as the moon waxes and wanes, and ships and sheep wait, the experts debate. How should the nation proceed with an industry so shamed by recent footage of conditions it apparently condones for the animals in its care? The images released earlier this year of crowded, dehydrated, distressed and dying sheep provided irrefutable evidence of cruel neglect on the long, hot sea voyages to the Middle East.
Initially publication of the videos did result in immediate action. New regulations were drafted and shipping licences suspended…but it seems the complications have increased. The result is that further measures are now under consideration, including the possibility of banning live exports during hot summer conditions, and in the longer term, banning them altogether.
It is a tense, complex time – a struggle with the food chain, a struggle to keep the welfare of sheep on the table.
The following links provide further information on the issue:
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018