Brazil overturns short-lived cattle export ban

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Brazil boasts the second largest cattle herd in the world, and exports more than a million head of slaughter cows per year
Brazil boasts the second largest cattle herd in the world, and exports more than a million head of slaughter cows per year

Related tags Brazil Export Beef Livestock

The Brazilian government has overturned a two-day injunction on live cattle exports, imposed after animal activists claimed cows shipped thousands of miles abroad faced cruel treatment upon arrival.

Brazil swiftly overturned the São Paulo court injunction on live cattle trade – a welcome resolution to a country exporting 600,000 head of cattle per year.

Cattle shipments from all Brazilian ports had been in limbo, but can now set sail again.

The injunction was first imposed on a single shipment of cows destined for slaughter in Turkey – a country aiming to import half a million head of cattle​ per year. The ban was subsequently extended to all Brazilian cattle shipments on Friday 2 February 2018.

A ‘good night’ for Brazil

Animal rights group The National Forum for Protection and Animal Defence requested the injunction, arguing that cattle from South America were being subjected to cruel slaughter practices in destination countries, such as Egypt and Turkey.

Thousands of cattle were left in limbo at Brazil’s busy São Paulo port, with many more traders uncertain about future export movements following the ban.

However, swift pressure from the Brazilian Office of the General Attorney (AGU) and the country’s minister of agriculture, Blairo Maggi, saw the nationwide cattle export injunction lifted on Sunday 4 February.

On twitter, the minister said: “Good night! The federal justice of São Paulo has just announced that it has released any shipment of live animals in the ports of Brazil, because it considers the procedures carried out comply with the Ministry of Agriculture laws in force. I appreciate the AGU. Exports are cleared.​”

Minimal impact on Australia

One of the world’s largest cattle and sheep exporters, Australia-based Wellard, has exported live cattle from Brazil since 2011. Earlier, it admitted it was monitoring the issue closely in case the business needed to make up the shortfall from the Brazilian ban by sourcing cattle from other trading partners. Due to the swift turnaround, Wellard was unaffected by the temporary suspension.

The Brazilian government has demonstrated its support for the live export trade through its decision to successfully appeal the injunction,​” said Wellard’s executive director of operations Fred Troncone.

Wellard reiterates its previous advice that it was not affected by the temporary suspension. It had no involvement in the injunction or court action, and its ships were not impacted by either.​”

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