Mr Crean [Chair of ALEC] denies that the industry bullies shipboard veterinarians, but bullying has been a part of the trade for decades.
- In 1998 Dr David Marshall was requested to falsify mortality figures by an industry player who is still operating today. The Department of Agriculture did not respond to his report.
- In 2001 Dr Tony Hill blew the whistle about a serious mortality incident in the Middle East, but the Department did next to nothing.
- In 2008 Dr Lloyd Reeve-Johnson, former Head of the Veterinary School at the University of Queensland, was removed from a ship after reporting high mortality, with the express knowledge of the government. His end-of-voyage report was then altered by the exporter.
- Most recently, Dr Peter Calder was made a scapegoat, with the Department considering criminal prosecution, after the inevitable disaster that followed a government-approved loading of inappropriate cattle for a voyage to Turkey.
Very little has changed in the last 15 years. Most of the major exporters are the same and most of the ships are the same. The space allowances are exactly the same as they were in 1998. The only thing that has changed on ships is the class of stock and a slightly increased space allowance for stock heading into a Middle East summer. Nothing has changed substantially to improve animal welfare on these voyages.
If government and industry were truly committed to animal welfare they would have an independent veterinarian on every ship.