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Qatar abattoir suspended due to ESCAS breaches

Qatar abattoir suspended due to ESCAS breaches

DOHA: A statement from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – the live export industry’s ‘independent regulator’ – said Animals Australia provided new information, including video footage, on April 9 this year, alleging ESCAS breaches in Qatar.

The allegations included apparent on-selling of sheep to private buyers from the approved supply chain and mishandling of sheep at an ESCAS approved abattoir in Qatar.

ESCAS was introduced following the snap suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011 by the former Labor government, to allow tracking and traceability of exported Australian animals, despite transfer of ownership and animal protection laws that may exist in other countries.

An Inspector General is required no matter which political party is in government to provide independent oversight – but the position is even more critical when Ministers like Barnaby Joyce promote such a poor culture in the Department,” a statement said.

“It is clear the Department has been unable to effectively regulate the live export sector over the course of the last 12 months – its reliance on information from activist groups confirms its failures.”

The Department declined to comment on Labor’s criticism while the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council said on Twitter improvements to its operations were being trialled while the facility remained closed, ahead of an audit in the coming days.