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

The path of a polymath: Lloyd Reeve-Johnson

 

Lloyd Reeve-JohnsonMany Australians have read about veterinarian Lloyd Reeve-Johnson in his capacity as a live export investigator, particularly when his journey to Mauritius to examine flaws in regulation of the trade gained national media coverage.

During the trip he noted pregnant cattle, misleading paperwork, unaccounted calf euthanasia and a general failure to implement OIE recommendations.

However his interest in the live animal trade is a relatively small part of an impressively polymathic career which encompasses areas such as drug development, education and even a novel.

The 43-year-old grew up internationally, spending his childhood in remote rural Zimbabwe and feeling the influence of the generations of farming in his family.

More drawn to animals than crops, he rode horses from the age of three and looked forward to one day owning the family cattle ranch.

“Becoming a veterinarian seemed the logical way to add value to the animal management and breeding aspects of the ranch,” Reeve-Johnson said.

And so after attending the historic Rugby School in Warwickshire, UK, he moved on to a veterinary degree at Edinburgh University.

Reeve-Johnson worked as a country vet in the South of Scotland/North of England for a pleasant couple of years (“in a clinic very akin to that described in the James Herriot novels”), before being hired by a multinational, an experience which brought him to 60 countries over an eight year period.

“I was able to use my foreign languages on a weekly basis, work in some fascinating cultures across emerging Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia at a time of a lot of change and growth,” he said.

Reeve-Johnson assisted in the development of some new treatments such as the macrolide antibiotic Tilmicosin, which is sold in 120 countries.

He was also involved in the development of ionophores, hormones as well as number of companion animal products, including some which were used to assist human drug development.

The experience in the corporate world helped Reeve-Johnson acquire the necessary nous to establish the PetDoctors UK clinic chain in 2002 with two other vets and a banker.

PetDoctors grew from a couple of branches with a dozen staff to 28 multi-vet clinics, a major tertiary referral site and a large diagnostic laboratory (Greendale Diagnostics) within a few years.

Expansion enabled Reeve-Johnson and his team to release some of their own branded products and conduct ethical research in to new treatments.

In 2005 Reeve-Johnson moved to Australian and was appointed Head of Veterinary School at the University of Queensland, spending an “interesting couple of years” of reform.

Continue reading The path of a polymath: Lloyd Reeve-Johnson

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

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