Private sale of sheep banned in Bahrain
Manama, June 9, 2011
Private sales of sheep from the Bahrain Livestock Company (BLC) feedlot in Sitra have been banned after Australia launched a review of its live animal export trade.
A government study was set up after video footage emerged showing the mistreatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia.
All Middle East importers are now being monitored, but according to a top official at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Bahrain has nothing to fear.
'The Australian government is conducting an enquiry into all of its export markets,' said MLA Middle East and North Africa livestock services manager Peter Dundon.
'Those markets that do not meet the minimum required OIE (Office International des Epizooties or World Health Organisation for Animal Health) standards will be treated similarly to what has happened with Indonesia.
'I'm not concerned about Bahrain because it is the country most able to comply with these requirements and will face the least disruption.
'The only difference is that private sales of livestock will no longer be permitted at the feedlot.
'All Australian livestock will now have to be processed through the abattoir.
'The decision was taken in light of the situation in Indonesia and the new position taken by the government.
'There weren't that many private sales as it was, so it won't make that much difference.
'Of the 500,000 Australian sheep exported to Bahrain in 2010, less than three per cent exited the feedlot through private sale, with a high volume of these coming over the Eid Al Adha holiday.'
Dundon moved to reassure customers that Australian sheep would still be available in Bahrain.
Anyone looking to slaughter sheep privately, he added, would have to source the animals elsewhere.
'We have been in contact with importers in Bahrain and explained to them that we can no longer continue with private sales because we cannot guarantee that the slaughtering process will comply with OIE standards,' he said.
'They understand the situation and I can't see there being any problems in that regard.
'The only time the new rule will be felt is through Eid, but otherwise it won't really make any difference.'
Video footage recorded by Animals Australia for an investigative television programme showed Australian cattle in Indonesia being beaten, whipped and maimed prior to slaughter.
The footage caused outrage among Australian viewers and resulted in a ban on all live exports to Indonesia.
Australia's live trade is valued at about A$730 million (BD293 million), of which 60 per cent is exported to Indonesia.-TradeArabia News Service