Cattlemen blast Gaza �disgrace�

The Cattle Council of Australia has hit out at the "disgraceful" treatment of Australian livestock exported to the Gaza Strip in the Middle East as acts of cruelty continue despite a raft of complaints.

After being sent fresh evidence of breaches in animal welfare regulations, the council said farmers did not want their cattle treated poorly.

Shocking images taken this week were also forwarded to the Agriculture Department for investigation.

Animals Australia said it raised the alarm about the treatment of cattle in Gaza months ago but the cruelty continued almost nightly.

CCA president Andrew Ogilvie said the council stood by its call for strong action against exporters who showed disregard for their responsibilities under Australia's exporter supply chain assurance system.

"We are very strong supporters of live export but we are very firm that the live exporters have to adhere to the ESCAS principles," he said.

"If they don't, we think the Government should investigate them and apply appropriate penalties.

"There wouldn't be a producer in Australia that didn't find those sorts of images distressing." It is understood Agriculture Department officials met Perth-based exporter Livestock Shipping Services this week to discuss the situation in Gaza.

The department stopped issuing export permits to Gaza in November and suspended the use of the Gaza municipal abattoir for the slaughter of Australian animals three months ago.

However, it is estimated more than a thousand Australian cattle remain in Gaza.

A statement from the Agriculture Department yesterday said: "The department has asked the exporter to provide advice on how the issues raised in the complaints are being addressed for animals that remain in the Gaza supply chain."

Animals Australia has made seven complaints about alleged ESCAS breaches in Gaza, including four about the Jibaliya slaughterhouse since February.

It has asked the department to suspend the LSS export licence.

LSS refused to comment but Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive Alison Penfold said the company had acted swiftly to stop exports to Gaza and taken steps to regain control of the supply chain.

The West Australian

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