The RSPCA has called on the Australian Government to urgently update the current Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) to prohibit the use of inversion boxes in abattoirs overseas.
The calls comes after the Australian Government yesterday agreed to re-open the livestock export trade to Egypt under ESCAS.
The RSPCA says one of the two Egyptian abattoirs that have been approved to receive Australian cattle in the past, Ain Sokhna, uses an 'inversion' slaughter box that rotates cattle upside down prior to having their throats cut while fully conscious, and says the same device is approved for use in several other ESCAS supply chains.
“Inversion slaughter boxes are unquestionably cruel and have no place in an Australian approved facility,” RSPCA Australia Chief Scientist Dr Bidda Jones said yesterday.
“Even when these slaughter devices are working properly they’re incapable of delivering good animal welfare outcomes, yet the government has failed to act to remove them.
“If the Australian public and cattle producers knew the full details about the suffering that cattle endure in these devices, they’d be horrified."
The RSPCA is also calling on the government to release the slaughter assessment reports from the four Department of Agriculture veterinarians sent to Egypt in 2013 as part of the 2013 investigation and explain why required animal welfare audits of the two abattoirs were never conducted.
“Despite previous arrangements (MoUs) having many of the hallmarks of ESCAS, they failed to protect Australian cattle from significant and ongoing cruelty – how can the Australian public trust it will be any different now?” said Dr Jones.
“Egypt has an appalling record in animal welfare and we have no confidence that ESCAS will deliver anything better.”