Jordan: Group calls on King Abdullah to stop live-animal imports from Australia
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sent an urgent letter to King Abdullah II urging him to stop importing live sheep from Australia and to provide veterinary care for animals in live markets. PETA’s letter comes after representatives from the group visited the Sahab animal markets outside Amman in May and found that sick and injured animals were languishing in holding pens without proper shelter or veterinary care.
Jordan imports nearly 900,000 sheep from Australia each year. The animals are transported thousands of miles through all weather extremes, confined amid their own waste on crowded ships which hold up to 100,000 animals. In 2005 alone, more than 35,000 sheep died en route to the Middle East after becoming ill or injured or being trampled to death by other animals when trying to reach scarce supplies of food or water.
Sheep who survive the gruelling ocean voyage from Australia endure further neglect in feedlots and open-air markets, where they are left to suffer in the foreign environment without proper food or shelter before their final slaughter.
PETA Asia-Pacific Director Jason Baker, who visited the Sahab animal markets, found that Australian sheep were suffering from respiratory problems, blindness, leg injuries and severe wool loss. A veterinarian who accompanied Baker diagnosed some of the animals with mineral deficiencies caused by inadequate diet and ongoing stress.
“Australians and Jordanians alike are appalled by the violent treatment and slaughter of sheep and cows exported to the Middle East”, says Baker. “King Abdullah has a chance to prove he is a kind and just leader by putting a stop to this cruel industry.”