Gulf News - 24/9/2006
Qatari officials yesterday denied allegations by a US animal rights group that livestock imported from Australia were mistreated and battered upon arrival here.
The US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) held a meeting with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture on Tuesday to discuss ending Qatar's live sheep imports from Australia. Peta claimed with documents and images that livestock undergo terrible abuses which are against the Islamic slaughter requirements.
"Peta's documentation on the alleged abuses on livestock in Qatar is incorrect. Animals here are treated properly and according to our Islamic provisions on slaughtering," an official at the Agriculture Research and Development told Gulf News.
"However our meeting was very positive and we intend to cooperate with the organisation so that abuses never take place here."
The official said the ministry was due to release a full report of the meeting's discussions.
Peta is conducting a Middle East tour since last May aimed at rallying support for a ban on live sheep imports from Australia and is raising public awareness about the abuses committed against the animals before and during the exhausting three-week journey from Australia to the Middle East.
The ministerial official said Peta presented evidence of animals on overcrowded containers with scarce food and water and kept in poor conditions.
Peta also posted documents on its website, showing sheep confined amid their own accumulated waste, being skinned alive, beaten and brutally kicked before being shipped to the Gulf and upon their arrival here.
Maya Linden, Peta's Director of Animal Transport and Live Market Campaigns, earlier was reported as saying to local daily Peninsula that investigations in Qatar found that sheep surviving the journey are dragged from trucks by their ears and legs, tied up, beaten and hauled to poorly-regulated abattoirs and illegal backyard slaughterhouses. Their throats are slit with multiple cuts while they are still fully conscious.
According to the Islamic regulations on slaughtering, if animals have been subjected to cruelties in their breeding, transport, slaughter, or in their general welfare, meat from them is considered impure and unlawful to eat.
Qatar imports nearly 200,000 sheep from Australia each year.
"The people of Qatar are shocked when they learn that hundreds of thousands of lambs and sheep are being tormented on long sea voyages," Nadia Montasser, a member of Peta, was also reported as saying.