AN ABATTOIR in Qatar has been suspended from the Australian live export program, as the industry faces further fallout from Animals Australia footage.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is investigating alleged breaches of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System brought to their attention by the animal activist group on April 9.
"The allegations include apparent onselling of sheep to private buyers from the approved supply chain, and mishandling of sheep at an ESCAS-approved abattoir in Qatar,” the department said in a statement, released about 7.30pm last Friday.
"Supply of animals to the abattoir was immediately suspended and any animals already at the abattoir have been removed. In effect, this means no further Australian sheep can be transported to or slaughtered at this abattoir.”
The Government said this was the first complaint they had received about sheep being exported to Qatar since ESCAS was implemented in 2011.
However it is one of six investigations into regulatory compliance that have been launched through Animal Australia since the beginning of March.
The others included reports of alleged noncompliance with ESCAS in Oman, the UAE, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as the report into animal welfare concerns aboard voyages, which was sparked from last week's 60 Minutes program.
Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said the Qatar suspension further highlighted the need to restore Labor's independent inspector general of animal welfare and live animal exports.
"An inspector general is required no matter which political party is in government to provide independent oversight,” he said.
"It is clear the department has been unable to effectively regulate the live export sector over the course of the last twelve months.
"Its reliance on information from activist groups confirms its failures.
"The inspector-general will have wideranging powers to ensure the regulator is doing its job properly and to design and oversee strategies to improve the regulator's effectiveness.”