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Ministry panicked by revelation of animal welfare irregularities

by 5m Editor
5 January 2007, at 8:43am

MALTA - The detailed audit report indicates numerous faults that breach EU pig slaughtering regulations, most of which are causing unnecessary pain and suffering to the animals, and potential health hazards to the slaughterers.

Four months after foreign veterinary experts reported numerous animal welfare, and occupational health and safety irregularities at the government’s abattoir in Marsa, the Environment Ministry has just started introducing required changes, a ministerial statement said.

Slow on implementing changes
In reaction, on Thursday the Rural Affairs Ministry issued a panicked reaction, in which it confirmed the existence of the shocking audit reports.

Even more worrying is the fact that the ministry confirmed that even if the report was presented to government four months ago, the action plan devised to bring the abattoir in line with EU standards has not yet materialised. The required upgrading are still “being introduced”, the ministry spokesperson said.

Sources at the ministry said that the statement was issued directly from Minister George Pullicino’s office, in a frantic attempt at damage control, and in fear that more cases of animal welfare infringements from the secret audit reports is leaked to the media.

The ministry said that “the emergency services at the Civil Abattoir is the result of an internal auditing exercise which was commissioned by the Ministry and conducted by foreign veterinary experts. Such internal audit exercises are performed at regular intervals as is the norm with abattoirs with the objective of rectifying any shortcomings”. The ministry also contracted a veterinary consultant and abattoir engineer to prepare another report on the same slaughter house.

Yet, these reports were never mentioned before and kept away from the public eye. The Ministry feared the reaction of environmentalists and animal welfare pressure groups.

Source: Malta Star

5m Editor