KUWAIT CITY, May 26: A company in Kuwait that imports two-thirds of Australian live sheep affirmed its rejection to import chilled meat from Australia in case of any reduction in the live exports, stressing that fresh meat, which is of high demand in the Middle East, will not replaced with frozen or chilled meat.
According to a report published on adelaidenow.com.au, the company sent a letter to the government of Australia stating that customers in the Middle East require high-quality meat, and in case there is any shortfall from Australia, they will either follow the Saudi example and seek alternate sources for buying fresh meat or opt for other fresh alternatives such as fish and chicken.
The Agriculture Department of Australia highlighted that more than 2,000 sheep on a live export ship which was heading towards the Middle East last year had died. Video clips of the sheep dying on the ship went viral last month, leading to renewed calls for banning live export trade to Kuwait.
Minister of Agriculture in Australia David Littleproud then embarked on a review of his department’s culture and capability with the aim of cleaning up the trade. However, the department insisted the ship did not breach the standards of animal welfare.
Head of the live animal export department in Australia Narelle Clegg revealed that no breaches or violations were discovered on the Emanuel exports-chartered ship Awassi Express, highlighting the inadequacy of the information provided by the veterinarians. However Labor Senator Lisa Singh said the situation reveals the inadequacy of the department as an independent regulator.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of the Agriculture Department Malcolm Thompson admitted about the shortcomings in the way the industry was policed, indicating that the footage of the dying sheep was “distressing and completely at odds with our expectations as the regulator”.