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Response to parliamentary question on imported livestock for the korban ritual

Questions

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (a) what is the actual cost per imported livestock from Australia and Ireland for the Eid ul Adha this year; (b) what are the factors affecting the price of the imported livestock; (c) what are the findings of the investigation into the deaths of a consignment of imported livestock for the korban ritual this year; (d) what are the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage for the imported livestock; and (e) whether MUIS incurred any financial loss from the deaths of the imported livestock.

Mr Zainudin Nordin: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (a) what has been the progress of korban operations in Singapore since the implementation of the new standard operating procedures; (b) what are the challenges faced in the korban operations this year due to the high number of livestock deaths during their voyage to Singapore; and (c) what are the reasons for these livestock deaths and how such occurrences can be prevented in the future.

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (a) whether the death of livestock from Australia has had any impact on the korban this year; (b) how successful has the Eid ul Adha korban been this year; and (c) whether there are any challenges in the import of goats from new sources overseas.

Response
 
  1. Assoc Prof Dr Yaacob Ibrahim: The annual korban 1 was carried out smoothly at 24 mosques and 2 Organisations 2 on 5 October 2014 with livestock imported from Australia and Ireland.

    Meeting High Standards of Livestock Handling
  2. Korban operations at these centres were carried out according to international animal welfare standards and procedures as well as the code of practice issued by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).
  3. Local mosques and organisations first implemented the Export Supply Chain Assurance System or ESCAS 3 in 2012 as required by the Australian Government. We have continued to adhere to ESCAS at all participating mosques and organisations this year and complied with the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) internationally accepted animal welfare standards 4.

    Price of livestock
  4. Similar to previous years, the supply of livestock for korban this year was procured through an open tender exercise. The appointed vendor was required to procure the livestock from sources approved by AVA and deliver them to the participating mosques and organisations. The price of the imported livestock would therefore include the cost of livestock at the countries of origin, air freight costs and operation costs incurred by participating mosques and organisations in handling korban operations. In all, the price of korban this year was $499 per Australian sheep and $575 per Irish lamb.

    Mortality of livestock from Australia this year
  5. The death of a number of sheep en route from Australia to Singapore was regrettable. AVA was on site to inspect the sheep on arrival and immediately began its investigations. AVA had identified heat stress as the cause of death and had ruled out death due to infectious disease.
  6. Investigations by SIA Cargo revealed that the aircraft had departed Perth, Australia in fully serviceable condition. However, a few hours into the flight, one of the three air-conditioning packs on the aircraft produced a slightly lower rate of airflow to the cargo compartment, on an intermittent basis. This lower airflow rate affected a small section of the aircraft and may have caused a disruption of temperature in that section of the aircraft. This was an unfortunate incident.
  7. MUIS did not bear any financial loss from the deaths of the livestock as this was borne by the company which won the tender to import the livestock. Despite the challenges posed by this unfortunate incident, MUIS and the Singapore Mosques Korban Committee (JKMS) managed to ensure that those in the community who had registered to do the korban at our mosques were still able to do so.

    Ensuring supply for korban in future
  8. Going forward, the diversification of sources of livestock is important to mitigate the risks arising from a supply disruption to a single source. Last year, MUIS conducted a trial involving the import of 500 livestock from Canada in addition to livestock from Australia. For korban this year, 1,700 livestock from Ireland were imported, in addition to 2,200 sheep imported from Australia. MUIS will continue to work with AVA intensify efforts to explore more sources for livestock that can meet our food safety and public health standards. Currently, AVA has approved the import of sheep and goats from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan and USA for the purpose of korban.

 

1 Korban is the ritual of animals sacrifice during Eidul Adha in commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s expression of faith. The meat is encouraged to be shared with the poor and needy.

2 Jamiyah Singapore and Muhammadiyah Association of Singapore

3 ESCAS is a regulatory framework implemented by the Australian Government in 2012 to ensure that livestock exported from Australia to different countries are treated in accordance to the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) internationally accepted animal welfare standards. To comply, the Australian exporter must provide a report from an independent and internationally accredited auditor to certify that livestock to be exported meet the standards required from the farm to the point of slaughter.

4 In 2012, 16 mosques and 2 organisations met the required ESCAS compliance audits and the Australian Government approved the export of 2,500 sheep for korban at these 18 centres. In 2013, MUIS increased the number of korban centres to 23, and these centres were also subjected to the same international welfare standards for korban operations.
Last updated on 03 April 2019