Dr Petra Sidholm's response to LiveCorp
Dr Petra Sidholm MRCVS
A noted United Kingdom based veterinarian has been travelling the world
in an attempt to improve the conditions and treatment of animals imported
into various countries. Dr. Petra Sidholm, MRCVS has concentrated her efforts
of late in Egypt, where she has been involved in negotiations on behalf
of concerned animal welfare organisations. Dr Sidholm has had discussions
with representatives of the key players involved in all aspects of the
live animal trade. Government officials, religious leaders, academics,
economists and fellow veterinarians were all consulted and requested to
provide input into in Dr Sidholm's study.
Australia has also been on Dr Sidholm's agenda and she has been involved
with Animals Australia since 1999. Dr Sidholm has personally presented
her findings and related concerns to Livecorp and other relevant Government
agencies. Facts relating to unloading methods, handling, transportation
and slaughtering conditions and facilities both overseas and locally,
have all been highlighted in Dr Sidholm's meetings with Australia's live
animal export industry body representatives. The abhorrent conditions
for animals aboard the MV Maysora on its maiden voyage from Australia
to Adibya (Egypt) were the focus of a further report presented by Dr Sidholm
Several misleading and totally inaccurate comments have been made in
an effort to discredit Dr Sidholm, the work she does to improve the welfare
of animals and the findings detailed in her reports on the slaughter of
animals in the Middle East. These inaccuracies are an attempt to draw
away attention from the real cruelty issues that exist widely within the
live animal export trade and to cast doubts upon the integrity of those
who oppose this trade, a trade which includes the slaughter of Australian
animals using a method that is illegal here.
It needs to be noted that those that cast aspersions upon Dr Sidholm are
heavily involved in the export trade therefore have a vested interest
in seeing the trade continue.
Dr Petra Sidholm is funded by a Swiss Animal Welfare Charity who is vehemently
opposed to long distance transport. Dr Sidholm has worked extensively in
Europe against long distance transport of animals and so any suggestion
that she is funded by a European Livestock organisation is pure fiction
and aimed at maligning Dr Sidholm's fine reputation.
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Papers detailing the observations by Dr Sidholm on the slaughter of animals
in slaughterhouses in Cairo were published and distributed at two conferences
in Egypt as well as given to local Egyptian and international media. After
the article based on the papers appeared in the Australian Veterinary
Journal it was decided that to enter Egypt’s main slaughterhouse
called Bassatin, Dr Sidholm must have the permission of the Chief Governmental
Veterinarian who was harshly criticised by the media over the shortcomings
that were revealed. She has NEVER been banned from any Egyptian slaughterhouse.
Bassatin slaughterhouse was built many years ago. At that time Bassatin
was equipped with 2 electrical slaughter-lines and 8 slaughter boxes,
to allow contract Egyptian slaughterman to slaughter cattle in a somewhat
more humane way. However, the electrical lines and the slaughter boxes
are not working and haven’t been for some time, due to mechanical
breakdowns and a lack of maintenance.
A restraint box was provided by LiveCorp, but this box is totally unsuitable.
It has been suggested by Livecorp, that Dr Sidholm had asked the slaughterman
not to use this box, a claim hotly refuted by Dr Sidholm. Dr Sidholm does
oppose this box because the box design is more of a restraining box not
a slaughter box. In fact Dr Nigel Brown, LiveCorp representative in the
Middle East, was asked by veterinarians of the slaughterhouse if he would
consider this box design to be humane, and as we understand, he admitted
that it is merely a restraining box.
Our sources inform us that Dr Sidholm and Mr Geoffrey Beere, the designer
of the box, recognise that the restraining box is unsuitable for use at
In an effort to improve this appalling situation, Dr Sidholm made many
recommendations to LiveCorp on various HUMANE slaughter boxes however
these alternatives appeared to have gone unheeded.
Slaughtering using this box will take 4 times as long as without it and
that is why the workers avoid using it. Furthermore, using this box means
the legs of the cattle are harshly pulled underneath the body by the help
of ropes causing the cattle to fall rapidly on their sides. This causes
a lot of bruising and unnecessary stress even before, their throats are
slit for bleeding while fully conscious.
Mid December 2003, a new box to the value of $A60,000.00, was installed
at Bassatin Slaughterhouse......
Paid for by who? The
We can only hope that this box is of a far superior design that will
allow for the slaughter of our Australian cattle in a humane way than
previously and that the Egyptian slaughtermen will favour it’s use.
Following are extracts of what occurs at Bassatin slaughterhouse, just
outside Cairo [N.B. Dr Sidholm's reports were presented to industry and
government in 2001]:
‘A group of
four or five cattle is driven onto the landing, where the slaughter men
spread themselves around the huddled animals and begin to cut more tendons
on the front and the hind legs. …The affected animal then attempts
to hobble in the opposite direction where another slaughterman waits to
strike. The knee and elbow joints are also targeted for destruction and
the eyes knocked or stabbed out’.
Dr Petra Sidholm, the author of this eye-witness account explains that
the Egyptian slaughtermen are afraid of the larger Australian cattle,
and strike out to disable the cattle prior to forcing them to the slaughter
Australian cattle and sheep are exported live to Egypt (and many other
Middle East countries) and are killed without prior stunning. Their throats
are cut while fully conscious.
The Bassatin slaughterhouse (at the time of this account) killed some
300 Australian cattle each day. They are paid per animal killed.
‘I have observed a slaughterman,
cutting the tongue from an animal and stuffing it into his shirt directly
after its throat was cut and while the animal was still conscious and
struggling with its head raised above the ground. I was advised that,
for some of the assistant labourers, parts of the body are the only reward
they get for their work.’
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