The cattle were moved from a cold wet Victorian winter , to the height of the northern summer on a voyage lasting 37 days; temperatures on board ship exceeded the level reported by scientists to cause heat stress in cattle for 17 of those days. An AQIS report into the incident notes that the exporter used an off-label dose of vaccine and that DAFF signed off on that dose in the consignment risk management plan. Arguably, the Portland cattle should not have been loaded onto the ship; the Fremantle cattle on the same ship had a normal mortality rate.
There is evidence that the on-board vet did everything they could to help the cattle. Despite this, the report raises the prospect that the vet could possibly be prosecuted for not keeping proper records! Record keeping would not have saved these cattle.
VALE intends to do everything we can to ensure that the truth emerges. We also wish to throw our support behind the vet in question.
You can read a press release with more detail on our media page.