Yesterday WSPA campaigners staged a mock murder crime scene outside the Australian High Commission in London, drawing attention to the suffering of approximately four million sheep every year as they are transported in filthy and stressful conditions from Australia to the Middle East, just to be slaughtered.
The crime scene forms part of the current focus of the global Handle with Care campaign – a coalition formed of leading global animal welfare charities including WSPA, RSPCA, World Horse Welfare and Compassion in World Farming.
Focus on Australia
The charities are calling for an end to the long distance transport of live sheep by truck and ship from Australia to the Middle East for slaughter, on the grounds that it is cruel and unnecessary.
Nicola Pulman, Programmes Manager, WSPA UK said: “WSPA created this murder crime scene because we feel this treatment of live animals is a crime. This morning we also handed a letter of protest to the Australian High Commission in London to demonstrate wide international support for an end to this cruel trade.”
The Handle with Care coalition would like to see the export of sheep to the Middle East be replaced by a growing trade in chilled and frozen meat.
Currently Australia dominates the market in this terrible trade of live sheep exports to the Middle East, exporting to around 12 countries. The countries that import the most sheep include: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.
Cruel and unnecessary
Live exports are unnecessary and avoidable. Frozen and chilled meat is a humane alternative and is economically better for Australia. It is also possible as many of Australia’s abattoirs are Halal certified, making them able to fulfil Middle Eastern export needs.
In a show of unity, animal welfare groups around the world have been writing to their Australian embassies to raise concerns about the animal welfare implications of the trade.
Organisations in Nepal, Hungary and Ireland are organising demonstrations outside their Australian Embassies. Handle with Care coalition members and WSPA member societies – as well as concerned members of the public – are writing letters to the Australian Prime Minister and Australian Embassies in their countries.
Take action for suffering animals
WSPA urges our supporters to help us demonstrate the public concern over Australia’s live export of sheep to the Middle East.
Please visit www.wspa.org.uk/handlewithcare for more information and to download a letter to send to the Australian High Commission, objecting to the long distance transport of live animals for slaughter.
Nicola Pulman added: “At a time when commuters are protesting about uncomfortable conditions on their commute, we ask the British public to lend their voice to the 4 million sheep that have no choice in how and whether they travel. Some 40,000 sheep die each year en route from Australia to the Middle East during their journey in cramped, dirty containers.”