Bahrain to resume livestock trade with Australia
Manama, September 9, 2013
Bahrain will resume live animal trade with Australia following months of negotiations, a report said.
The Cabinet yesterday approved a report presented by the Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Minister on signing a new memorandum of understanding between Manama and Canberra.
The country has been hit by severe meat shortages since August last year when it turned away 21,000 sheep from Down Under due to health concerns, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Minister of State for Information Affairs and official government spokeswoman Sameera Rajab said the memorandum aims to protect the country from animal diseases.
Joint Municipal Councils consumer protection committee chairman and Muharraq Municipal Council vice-chairman Ali Al Muqla told the GDN the move was a step in the right direction to restore supply.
"Bahrain faced tough months since the ban was imposed more than a year ago, especially knowing that Australian meat constitutes the main supplies in the market," he said.
"The ban helped us explore alternative markets, but still demand is higher for Australian meat."
Al Muqla also demanded the establishment of a permanent Bahraini livestock office in Australia to inspect all shipments before they are exported to Bahrain.
"Qatar and Kuwait have already opened offices to inspect livestock and chilled meat, while Bahrain is still depending on e-mailed photographs and documents and this has to change."
The GDN reported in July that the ministry was cleared of blame following the controversial decision to reject the consignment of meat which halted livestock imports from Australia.
Authorities were forced to import livestock from countries such as Somalia, which costs substantially more.
The Australian government accused the country of breaching an animal welfare clause when it denied the shipment entry, meaning the animals spent days at sea before eventually ending up in Pakistan where they were brutally slaughtered.
But a report released by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in July stated the ministry and Bahrain Livestock Company were not to blame. – TradeArabia News Service