24 March 2014
Libby Price and Tyne McConnon
Live cattle are expected to head to Egypt in coming months, with the Federal Government last week announcing an agreement with Egypt for the trade to resume.
It’s a year since the Australian industry suspended cattle exports to Egypt over welfare concerns, and it’s eight years since evidence of serious animal cruelty halted sheep exports there.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says Egypt has committed to the strict ESCAS arrangements, which hold exporters responsible for animal welfare up to the point of slaughter.
Egyptian Ambassador to Australia, Dr Hassan El Laithy, thinks the live sheep trade could also resume, if Australia helped Egypt build feedlots and abattoirs.
Dr El Laithy denies there is political turmoil in Egypt and that animal welfare will be a low priority for his government.
“We believe in respecting animals, plants, water, but if you see someone showing that kind of disrespect, for whatever reason this was taken to the media and I’m sure you may think of interest groups behind bringing it at that particular time and afterwards you can see competitors and the products coming from other countries,” Dr El Laithy said.
Cattle producers in northern Western Australia are welcoming the news.
Kimberley cattle producer Peter Camp says Egypt was a lucrative market for the north.
“In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Egyptian job was a really strong market for the Kimberley.
“They put a lot of cattle into Egypt out of the Kimberley.”
Mr Camp says prices were also strong.
“They were paying around $1.50 to $1.60 for the heavier animals.
“In the late 1990s, early 2000s, the weight range was between 330 kilos to 550, so a really big weight range.”
Courtesy of ABC Rural
24 March 2014