ESCAS leaks investigated

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

Embattled exporter Livestock Shipping Services has strongly rejected any assertion of involvement in the latest allegations of sheep supply chain leakage.

Australian exporters are investigating reports of Australian sheep being sold outside of approved supply chains in public markets in Jordan ahead of an annual Islamic festival.

LSS managing director Ahmad Ghosheh said LSS had more recently become aware of reports of a large number of Australian sheep being offered outside of known supply chain facilities in livestock markets around Jordan.

"LSS has conducted a thorough investigation around its supply chain in Jordan over the past fortnight," he said.

"In addition to this, our sheep identification procedures and stock movement records have been audited in the last seven days by Meat and Livestock Australia representatives.

"LSS is confident that the current leakage does not relate to the LSS HGG supply chain and is isolated to other supply chains operating in the Jordan region."

Mr Ghosheh said in the lead- up to this year's Eid al-Adha festival, LSS and its importer in Jordan had put in place robust measures to protect the integrity of theAustralian sheep supply chain.

Eid al-Adha, known as the Feast of Sacrifice or the Greater Eid, is one of the two most important celebrations in the Muslim calendar.

"These measures ensure that not just the basic principles of the ESCAS framework of animal welfare, independent auditing, accountability and traceability are met, but that standards over and above those are strived for through infrastructure improvements, structured training programs and consistent support on achieving positive animal welfare outcomes," Mr Ghosheh said.

Meanwhile, aeroplane ventilation failure has been blamed for the death of 174 Australian sheep, believed to be from WA, en route to Singapore.

An investigation by Singapore Airlines is underway into the death of the sheep out of an approximate 2000-head consignment that occurred last Thursday.

The exporter notified the incident to the Department of Agriculture in Canberra first thing Friday morning.

Australian Livestock Exporters' Council chief executive Alison Penfold said while this incident was upsetting, it was a rare event.

"Between 2008 and 2013 there were 1732 individual airfreight flights and the total number of mortalities of sheep, cattle and goats exported amounted to 340 of total exports of 1,282,939," she said.

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