The ad claims that ³each year in Middle Eastern abattoirs and private homes millions of Australian sheep are brutally slaughtered by having their throats cut whilst fully conscious. People in the Middle East believe Australians approve of such treatment².
WA Live Exporters Association chairman John Edwards said while the industry was concerned about the latest campaign, he believed Animals Australia was unaware of the efforts and investment Australia¹s live export industry had put into educating the Middle Eastern market.
³For a long time now the ind-ustry has being running a cam-paign to educate and make peo-ple aware of how to handle ani-mals,² Mr Edwards said.
³The fact of the matter is though, these people have been following these practices for hun-dreds of years and it is all about changing culture.
³The effort the Australian live-stock industry has made to red-uce this behaviour is making a difference.
³It is not just confined to the Middle East, you could walk down some of the suburbs in Sydney where the bigger mosques are and see the same thing happening.
³The live export industry has spent millions of dollars to try and change the behaviour, but when it is part of a culture it is very difficult.²
Mr Edwards said Livecorp, in conjunction with Meat and Livestock Australia, had officers on the ground in the Middle East whose main role was to change the behaviour.
³They conduct training courses on livestock handling with feedlots in the Middle East and are taking those courses into the marketplace,² he said.
³They are achieving a lot in the confines of commercial operations, but in terms of taking it outside those operations to everyday residents, it is much more difficult to implement.
³The industry is making an incremental change and will continue to work with Middle East buyers on the issue.²
Mr Edwards said the industry did not condone the practices highlighted in the ad, but people had to realise that it was the way things were done in some countries.
³There are countries which have exported tens of thousands of animals to the Middle East that haven¹t spent a cent on awareness and education programs, while Australia has spent millions of dollars,² he said.
³If Animals Australia doesn¹t believe that we aren¹t doing anything or investing money to change behaviour then perhaps they should come to us so we can explain what steps we are taking to improve the situation.²
Live sheep exports have being valued at more than $280 million dollars with Saudi Arabia, the biggest market.