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Govt probes breach of export rules, maltreatment of sheep

KUWAIT CITY, June 10: The Federal Department of Agriculture said it was investigating a breach in export rules after live sheep were filmed being sold from backyard markets and stuffed in car boots in the midst of scorching heat at the notorious Al Rai livestock market, reports Al-Rai daily.

Live export activists Animals Australia said its investigators had counted at least 600 Australian sheep at the market being sold in possible breach of the so-called ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) regulations. Kuwait and other Gulf nations are in the midst of the holy month of Ramadan, which will conclude with the breaking of the feast, known as Eid al Fitr, at the end of the month.

Footage in 2010 of animals being maltreated at the market was a factor in the government drawing up its ESCAS scheme, which demands Australian-based exporters ensure they deliver to properly accredited slaughterhouses.

Breaches can lead to sanctions or bans on exports to certain markets and a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department said officials had already imposed additional requirements on Australian exporters as a result of previous breaches. It is understood the Department has contacted a WA-based live exporter in connection with this latest investigation. Kuwait received about 37 per cent of all sheep exported in 2015-16.

By Munaif Nayef, Mishal Al- Sanousi Al-Seyassah Staff and Agencies

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