Caption: “Two Peta activists dressed in skeleton outfits protest in front of the Australian embassy in Amman May 22, 2006, against the export of live sheep to Jordan. The animal rights group said they visited a sheep market in a the outskirts of Amman and noticed that the sheep had respiratory problems, suffered from blindness and some had severe wool loss.”
A lot of these PETA protests usually involve naked people. Now I’m not saying that the skeleton costumes were a bit of a morbid way to go, and I’ve never been a fan of props, but let’s face it: if they really wanted to get on the evening news in Jordan nakedness would’ve helped. I can guarantee that it would’be attracted a crowd. Protesting 101: you have to know your audience.
Anyways, I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade (or cause). I don’t really know much about the status of Australian sheep in Jordan. I did however follow the instructions on the signs of the protestors and went to the PETA website but it doesn’t have any information on any of this and the Middle East isn’t a region on their list of International websites.
UPDATE: A Jordan Times article on the protest was published today. I’ll post it all here since the JT website doesn’t keep articles on file. (apparently it’s illegal to protest in front of an embassy in Jordan)
Protesters call on Australia to cease exports of live sheep
By Victoria Macchi
AMMAN Ã¢?? Animal rights protesters demonstrated in front of the Australian embassy on Monday against the export of live sheep from Australia to the Middle East.
Two representatives of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) donned skeleton costumes and masks and carried signs reading: Ã¢??End Live Exports Ã¢?? Ships of Death.Ã¢?Â
Ã¢??We are here to send a simple message to the Australian government to ban live exports,Ã¢?Â said Australian protester Jodi Ruckley.
The demonstration follows a recent undercover investigation by PETA and Animals Australia, which shows the abuse of sheep and cattle arriving from Australia to the Middle East.
The PETA team also reported Ã¢??atrocious crueltiesÃ¢?Â to sheep Ã¢??clearly from Australia,Ã¢?Â while visiting a market in Sahab on Sunday with a veterinarian, who confirmed cases of infirm animals.
Many of the sheep at Sahab, here as a result of the live export market, were Ã¢??blind, limping, [and] have lost most of their woolÃ¢?Â due to stress from the trip and not being able to eat on board the ship, Ruckley told The Jordan Times.
Ã¢??Its really up to the [Jordanian] agriculture minister to take action … and the Australians, who knowingly send sick, old, injured animals over here…Ã¢?Â said the second protester, PETA Asia Director Jason Baker, from Hong Kong.
According to Ruckley, Jordan imported 900,000 live sheep from Australia last year, placing the country third in the region after Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Live exports of sheep to the Middle East totalled 4 million in 2005.
While Ruckley said the onus is on the Australian government to ban live exports, she added that there Ã¢??are certainly companies based in the Middle East transporting [live animals].Ã¢?Â
Ã¢??You canÃ¢??t humanely transport four million animals half way around the world,Ã¢?Â she told The Jordan Times.
Once the ships leave Australian ports, they are no longer under the countryÃ¢??s legal jurisdiction, therefore the burden of stopping the exports is down to the Australian government, according to the protesters.
Ruckley said Jordanians were Ã¢??disgusted by the animal crueltyÃ¢?Â shown in the undercover video footage.
She noted that there are 120 certified halal slaughterhouses in Australia, and that an alternative Ã¢?? as witnessed by Saudi Arabia during a ban on live exports in the late 1980s Ã¢?? is to ship frozen sheep carcasses that have been killed according to halal regulations.
The campaign has so far lasted 18 months, including stops in Kuwait, Cairo and Dubai.
Since the launch of the PETA investigation, Australia has banned live exports to Egypt.
Ã¢??WeÃ¢??ve found Jordanians to be very supportive,Ã¢?Â said Ruckley.
A statement issued by the Australian embassy on Monday evening, said the country Ã¢??is working to ensure animals are treated humanely and is determined to do its part to eliminate cruelty to animals.Ã¢?Â
Ã¢??Australia has the highest and strictest live export standards in the world,Ã¢?Â the statement added.
According to the embassy, the Australian government signed a memorandum of understanding on the trade in live animals with Jordan, which Ã¢??outlines the conditions under which the trade in live animals can be undertaken in a way that protects the health and welfare of the animals.Ã¢?Â
AustraliaÃ¢??s agriculture consul in the Middle East is engaging trading partners, including Jordan, on animal handling issues, according to the statement.
Following the protest, the two PETA demonstrators told The Jordan Times they were held by police for one hour at the site, on the grounds that it is Ã¢??illegal to protest outside an embassy.Ã¢?Â
Tuesday, May 23, 2006