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OIE failing animals

News Section Icon Published 21/05/2012

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is failing to protect animals in live transport and slaughter.

Compassion has today released distressing footage from Egyptian slaughterhouses that show cruel and inept methods that cause great suffering.

In the latest animal welfare disaster to hit the live exports trade, an estimated 2,000 cattle died aboard the Gracia del Mar, a ship carrying more than 5,000 animals on the marathon but regular trade route from Brazil to Egypt.

This footage from the Abo Simble, Safaga and Bassateen slaughterhouses in Egypt suggest even if these huge journeys go according to plan cattle could be subjected to inept and cruel slaughter at their destination.

That is why we are calling on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), which is holding it's 80th General Session in Paris on 20th-25th May, to correct its disastrously ineffective reaction to incidents like that on the Gracia del Mar and ensure compliance with its rules on slaughter to avoid more needless suffering.

We want the OIE to publish a clear plan of action for this.

The Gracia del Mar - What we now know

The following information has been gleaned by Compassion from a variety of sources, the authorities being either unable or unwilling to tell us what actually happened to the cattle on the Gracia Del Mar and why steps weren't taken to stop thousands of animals dying slow and painful deaths.

On March 2, Animals Australia contacted Compassion about the situation with the Gracia Del Mar and its cargo of 5,600 cattle. After leaving Brazil on January 24, the ship had hit freezing weather off the coast of Algeria and more than a thousand cattle had been killed.

With the dead cattle on board, the Gracia del Mar continued to its destination country Egypt, and tried to dock. However, despite a veterinary inspection by Egyptian authorities at Port Said that showed the surviving cattle to be suffering, the ship was refused permission to unload anywhere in Egypt and made to leave the port.

This effectively made it a floating pariah, as, after anchoring outside the Egyptian port of Sokhna for three days and being refused permission to dock as another 350 cattle died, it travelled through the Red Sea and down the coast of north-east Africa.

Nightmare not over

It finally docked and unloaded the surviving cattle in Djibouti and we have been told the cattle were subsequently taken to Saudi Arabia for slaughter in April.

We are now calling on the OIE to stand up for the welfare of animals and bring its influence to bear on its member countries, which include Egypt and Brazil, to adhere to the rules designed to stop this kind of extreme suffering.

We also want it to fulfil its obligations under Article 7.2.11 of its own recommendations on the transport of animals by sea, by mediating a resolution between the parties involved in the event of similar tragedies occurring in the future.

Take Action

Email the OIE now and call on them to live up to their responsibilities for animal welfare



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