Singapore should prepare for possible complete ban of live animal exports from Australia: PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Singapore should prepare for the possibility that Australia may ban live animal exports completely.
Writing on his FaceBook page, Mr Lee sends his greetings to all Muslims here and abroad, wishing them Selamat Hari Raya Haji (or Salam Aidiladha) during this holy day.
He says today marks the end of the Haj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Millions of Muslims have gathered in the holy city of Mecca.
He notes that unfortunately, this year Saudi Arabia accepted fewer pilgrims, as it is redeveloping the area around two Holy Mosques.
Singapore's Haj quota was also reduced, even though he wrote to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to request more places.
Mr Lee says he hopes that those who were unable to go this year will get the chance to do so before too long.
Muslims also perform the Korban sacrifice today, to celebrate Prophet Ibrahim's faith in God.
He says both he and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim were initially quite worried that the Korban ritual in Singapore might be affected by Australia's stringent new regulations on live sheep exports.
Fortunately 16 mosques passed the Australian audits, and were able to import 2,500 sheep for the ceremony.
Mr Lee says when he met Australian PM Julia Gillard in Canberra recently, he thanked her for her government's help on this matter.
She had told him that her government wants to continue exporting live animals.
But Mr Lee says he knows that Australian animal welfare groups are pressing strongly to ban live exports completely, as New Zealand has done.
Mr Lee says Singapore should be prepared for this possibility, and work out alternative arrangements in future.
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