UPDATE 2 – Live export: thousands of sheep on standby in Australia

Sheep - these two in Lancashire, England

Sheep – these two in Lancashire, England

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.

Sheep on Exmoor, England

Sheep on Exmoor, England

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:

The first brief article on The Phraser about the issue (2018) 

The second update on The Phraser (2018)

A July 2018 report from ABC news Australia on the situation around the live export of sheep

A 2016 report from Al-Jazeera on the export of live animals from Somaliland

A short piece (2016) on CNN on ‘the traditions, celebration, and origin’ of Eid al-Adha

For those interested in a longer read here is the 2014 live export trade assessment report for the Live Animal Exports Reform Taskforce in the Australian Department of Agriculture

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018

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