Gaza cops live cattle export ban

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Gaza cops live cattle export ban
Camera IconGaza cops live cattle export ban Credit: The West Australian

Commonwealth authorities have effectively banned live cattle exports to the Gaza while they investigate shocking images of animal cruelty in the streets of the Palestinian territory.

The admission comes with the company at the centre of the investigation involved in efforts to open up the export of slaughter and feeder cattle to Russia.

Industry sources said Perth-based Livestock Shipping Services was working on an order of about 40,000 cattle for Russia, which has banned imports of frozen and chilled Australian beef.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said work had started to establish an approved supply chain for the export of live cattle to Russia.

Russia banned frozen imports from today after its authorities said they found hormonal growth promotant trenbolone in beef from Australia.

Australian testing found no evidence of trenbolone.

DAFF revealed that it had not approved consignments of cattle for Gaza since November when it began investigating allegations raised in the Israeli media.

"The allegations are serious and information obtained during the investigation is considered when assessing any application from any exporter to send livestock to Gaza," a DAFF spokesman said. "Currently, all exporters to Israel are required to comply with additional conditions to ensure livestock are unloaded in accordance with international animal welfare standards."

LSS said last week that a ship bound for Israel with 10,000 cattle had been stopped at Fremantle because of an alleged breach of the Commonwealth's exporter supply chain assurance system.

LSS general manager Garry Robinson suggested the delay was linked to the leakage of the handful of cattle from the approved supply chain in Gaza.

He warned a zero-tolerance approach to leakage could cost lucrative live trade markets.

The Bader III eventually left Fremantle on Friday.

The footage from Gaza shows a bull being "knee-capped" by a man armed with an assault rifle, another stabbed in the eye and others having their throats hacked open.

LSS, owned by Jordanian company Hijazi and Ghosheh Group, self-reported a possible ESCAS breach in November when it became aware of the footage.

Its own investigation found a discrepancy involving nine cattle it sent to Gaza. Two of the cattle shown in the footage could be identified by their ear tags. LSS said then that the release of nine cattle from the supply chain was "unacceptable" and it suspended exports to the Gaza facility.

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