Sheep deaths spark further export debate

 

Flickr Live Export Bader III MaasmondmaritimeLive exports have again made news after more than 4000 sheep died from heat exhaustion after 21 days on board a live export ship bound for Qatar from Fremantle.

 

Exporter Livestock Shipping Service (LSS) said 4179 sheep died in the Gulf of Aden in August last year aboard the Bader III vessel.

 

LSS is a Perth based Jordanian-owned company based in Perth and they are under investigation by Federal authorities for breaches of export regulations in Jordan and Gaza.

 

The company issued a statement through a PR firm which said the majority of sheep were loaded in accordance with Australian Standards and most of the sheep died during an extreme weather event on the 21st day of the voyage.

 

Industry and Government supported heat stress risk modeling computer software was used to assess this voyage and is used by the company to assess all voyages to the Middle East and northern Hemisphere destination,” the statement said.

 

The statement added the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) increased the minimum space requirements for sheep by 10 per cent above Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock requirements for the next consignment of livestock on the vessel.

 

Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia (PGA) President, Rob Gillam, conceded the incident is “not really what the industry needed.” Continue reading Sheep deaths spark further export debate

Grandin’s advice for Australian live export industry

AVA Annual Conference, 28 May 2013,  Cairns Convention Centre.Livestock slaughter expert Temple Grandin has recommended abattoirs install video surveillance to reduce cruelty.

Grandin was in Cairns recently to address the AVA conference, and she told Bush Telegraph that Australia should have more power to monitor slaughter facilities abroad when engaged in live exports.

She said companies such as Cargill Incorporated and JBS have video in U.S. plants where footage can be accessed on the internet at any time.

Live export conditions remain topical, and ships to Egypt were recently suspended following the release of brutal slaughter footage by animal welfare activists.

AQIS-accredited veterinary surgeon Lloyd Reeve-Johnson said Grandin’s suggestion of web-cam based monitoring becomes realistic if one considers minimal public trust in the current system and its “repeated failures” to prevent major welfare issues.

“The initial reaction of many in the industry may be that her suggestion is unworkable or an unnecessary expense,” he said.

“If a sceptical public is ever to be convinced that live animal export is necessary for economic of other reasons, measures beyond the ordinary such as constant web-cam surveillance with independent expert oversight could benefit not only the welfare of millions of animals, but the trade itself.”

Reeve-Johnson said the same idea could be applied to shipboard conditions with intermittent satellite feeds of video footage and displays monitoring ammonia, temperatures, humidity and other variables to counter potential human selectivity in placement of sensors or reporting.

He added that the footage would “only supplement” the introduction of independent shipboard veterinary oversight who are not directly employed by exporters. Continue reading Grandin’s advice for Australian live export industry

‘Sickening’ scandal dogs live export industry

The actions of a concerned Egyptian veterinarian have thrown the live export industry in to yet another scandal.
In April Mahmoud Abdelwahab corresponded with animal welfare group Animals Australia, and they subsequently obtained footage of slaughterhouses in Egypt.
The footage shows cruelty in facilities that the live export industry has previously deemed to meet Australian standards.
It was given to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, has described it as “sickening.”
In one segment of footage, an abattoir worker attempts to kill an injured animal by cutting its leg tendons.

Continue reading ‘Sickening’ scandal dogs live export industry

Live export vessel veterinarian reports injuries, standards breaches

tightly stockedThe recent mistreatment of Australian animals overseas has been the source of much consternation in recent months, deflecting attention from conditions on live export ships.

A veterinarian who has spent 13 years working on live export voyages has made a submission to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) review in to Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL), which alleges that some in the industry are more concerned with profits than animal welfare.

Lynn Simpson, who has been an accredited on-board veterinarian for 57 live export voyages, as well as having peripheral feedlot, loading and transportation experience, described the suffering of animals resulting from exporters allegedly ignoring the law.

“It should be appreciated that these voyages are not all short and clean as depicted by industry and their public relations machine,” she said. Continue reading Live export vessel veterinarian reports injuries, standards breaches

DAFF labelled ‘out of touch’ over exports

Veterinarian Lloyd Reeve-Johnson has called for an overhaul of what he describes as systemic flaws in the Australian government’s live export system.

Reeve-Johnson from Pacific Animal Consulting and Agribusiness visited Mauritius at the request of Animals Australia to report on the status of cattle exported from Australia on the MV Barkly Pearl in October.

Animals Australia became aware of welfare problems on the voyage after being approached by a Mauritian importer. The exporter was Australian company South East Asian Livestock Services.

Reeve-Johnson stated that his investigation revealed significant problems including misleading paperwork.

He is also concerned that the Mauritian slaughter facilities fail to comply with the OIE recommendations sought to be imposed by Australian live export law.

The primary reason the importer was concerned was that a number of the imported livestock were pregnant and therefore unacceptable for slaughter under Mauritian law.

Australian live export standards also demand that cattle sourced for export as slaughter animals must be determined not to be pregnant by testing no more than 30 days before export and certified by the registered veterinarian or pregnancy tester.

I have worked internationally with livestock for 20 years and am a great supporter of productivity and commercial enterprise, yet I cannot think of any other commercial situation where there has been less transparency in the paperwork or such repeatedly inadequate oversight,” Reeve-Johnson said. Continue reading DAFF labelled ‘out of touch’ over exports