Princess weighs into halal slaughter debate
17 Oct, 2011
The King of Jordan's sister has been asking Australia's agriculture department to stop the slaughter of conscious animals for halal meat.
Princess Alia bint al-Hussein of Jordan, the sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, wants Australia to make the stunning of animals mandatory before they are slaughtered.
Australian Greens senator Lee Rhiannon quizzed department officials on Monday during a Senate estimates hearing about its communication with Princess Alia.
The department's acting deputy secretary for the live animal export taskforce, Paul Morris, said there had been regular communication with the princess spanning some years.
"From my own experience in talking to Princess Alia and in communications with her she has been a very good advocate for animal welfare and particularly for stunning in Jordan and also more broadly in the Middle East," he told the committee hearing.
Mr Morris said while Jordan allowed animals to be stunned before they were slaughtered, many Middle Eastern nations did not.
"There has been quite a bit of communication with Princess Alia over a number of years around these matters," he said.
Mr Morris said kosher meat from Australia — from unstunned slaughtered animals — was currently exported to Israel, while some animals processed for export to the Middle East had been stunned before slaughter and some not.
Mr Morris said that in Australia, sheep did not have to be stunned before being slaughtered, and some cattle also were not stunned to meet halal practice.
"We do allow unstunned slaughter of sheep in Australia," he said.
"For cattle we do allow for ritual slaughter purposes, for stunning to occur after the cut has been done, so it's a post-cut stunning."
The hearing before the Rural Affairs and Transport committee continues.