CATTLE exports to Egypt have resumed with Wellard Rural Exports sending a consignment of 16,460 cattle aboard the MV Ocean Shearer from Fremantle this week.
It’s good news for the beef industry as Egypt represents a significant market for WA cattle and considering the cattle for the shipment were sourced mainly from the South West, it’s particularly good news for producers of Bos Taurus cattle breeds.
Exports to Egypt were halted in 2006 following an investigation into reports of alleged animal cruelty involving Australian cattle.
The investigation was sparked after a report aired on television which displayed graphic footage of Australian cattle allegedly being subjected to cruelty with cattle being stabbed in the eye and having tendons in their back legs slashed.
According to LiveCorp figures, at the peak Australia exported 240,482 cattle to Egypt in 1999.
In 2008 the Federal Government announced the resumption of the live cattle trade to Egypt, following the development of a new facility at the Egyptian port of Sokhna and the signing of an agreement between the two countries, with strict protocols for the handling and slaughter of Australian livestock.
The Sokhna facility allows the handling of cattle from vessel to feedlot to processing in one spot.
Wellard Rural Exports managing director, Steve Meerwald, said Egypt was another important destination for Australian producers as it provided a market for a different class of cattle to those typically exported to South-East Asia.
“Egypt represents a significant new market for Wellard’s live export business and will be hugely beneficial to WA beef producers, given the impact this shipment has already had in the market place in the South West,” Mr Meerwald said.
“The enhanced animal welfare and meat processing protocols in Egypt, combined with our own commitment to the highest standards of animal welfare for preparation and shipment mean Wellard is ideally suited to commence exports to Egypt.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the State and Federal Departments of Agriculture, Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp have worked extremely hard to establish a system which effectively transfers Australian animal welfare standards to Egypt, and this shipment is a testament to that work.
“Having personally inspected the new facilities at Sokhna, I can confirm they are first class and would rival some of Australia’s best feedlot and processing plants.”
Mr Meerwald said that livestock would be handled and slaughtered in according with international standards for animal welfare.
He said Australian officials and industry representatives have assessed the abattoir and were satisfied that the facilities complied with the World Organisation for Animal Health guidelines.
On arrival at the new facility the cattle will disembark and walk 800 metres to the shaded feedlot. Once ready for processing, the livestock will walk 50 metres from the feedlot to the new modern processing facility. The system will also be fully auditable.
Each animal will have an individual electronic tag device and will be scanned prior to leaving Australia and on arrival at the feedlot in Egypt.
This tag will be collected at the point of processing and verified back to the original animals on the shipment.