The investigation followed allegations of mistreatment of Australian cattle in two Egyptian abattoirs – Ain Sokhna and Ismailia – in May last year. Animals Australia gave officials from the Department of Agriculture in Australia seven videos, recorded in October 2012 and April 2013, alleging mistreatment of the animals that originated from Australia.
The department also received transcripts, including an interview with an Egyptian veterinarian, a slaughterman and a butcher. Claims were made that the slaughter restraint box in Ismailia put too much pressure on the cattle and, in some cases, broke their ribs, and that the workers hoisted the cattle and started to process them before they were dead, among other allegations.
Among the findings in the Ain Sokhna abattoir were a breakdown in management control of slaughter practices and the fact that animal welfare outcomes conforming to OIE recommendations were not reliably being achieved.
Following the conclusion of the joint inspection and review, a department officer visited Ismailia in July 2013 and observed that animal handling and slaughter of Australian cattle conformed to OIE recommendations.
The Australian authorities also found that the government-to-government regulatory framework that was in place to manage cattle exports to Egypt did not consistently deliver animal welfare outcomes that conformed to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recommendations.
The report recommended that the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System be implemented before exports of slaughter and feeder livestock to Egypt resumed.
A voluntary ban was placed on trade to Egypt in May 2013, following the allegations, but trade has not actually occurred since August 2012, following Egypt’s advice that cattle could not be treated with hormone growth promoters.