With crews from vessels repeatedly arriving from Indonesia with Covid, WA Premier Mark McGowan is considering a ban. He says the onus is on shipping companies to ensure their crews do not give off in Indonesia...and that he is willing to change protocols should infected ships keep arriving. And this has set the live ex industry into a flap.
ALEC chief executive Mark Harvey-Sutton said state and federal authorities had an
economic and moral responsibility not to disrupt trade. He reportedly told the ABC "That would be a very concerning outcome if that was to occur — not only for Australian agricultural commodities, but also for our friends in Indonesia. This is a time of need in their country, deeply affected by COVID at the moment, and Australia plays a role in fulfilling their food security needs.
So far so good with the sob story but then.....
"Such measures would be very grave at a diplomatic level, as well as on a human level.
Ah so ...the real issue is that our "friends" to whom we have a moral obligation and who are so dependent on us will actually get the huff (so much for their dependency on us it seems) and this will have implications for trade. That sounds far more plausible.
BUT one thing is for sure..... it is always about live ex over anything else. Health and economic consequences to ordinary Australian people (think if the Sydney situation occurred in Perth) or animals are clearly less important than the live ex dollar!
Two weeks ago it was Indonesia, this week it is Jordan.....and of course both times it was the independent auditors of ESCAS, animal advocacy/activist groups that made the reports - PETA in Indonesia, Animals Australia in Jordan.
The export company involved in Jordan (LSS), one of the major Australian sheep exporters, have had other non-compliances but never any penalties of course. And as for the Dept.....well apparently it took them nearly a week to notify LSS, so clearly they are all over the situation and deeply care about animal welfare also.
And so on it goes - repeated incidents in all parts of the globe , mostly reported by animal activist/advocates with complaints upheld by Dept.....but never any penalties. No surprise really....there werent even any meaningful penalties to exporters after the Awassi Express affair.....so who knows what it would take?
Wellard executive chairman John Klepec complained about the Commonwealth Bank
refusing services to his company and told the ABC: "We went to every single other major
Australian bank and every single other Australian major bank came back with the same
reply — 'No.'"
He blames animal activists, what he calls minority groups, and says the banks want to be
seen as proactive in the environmental, social and governance space.
VALE congratulates those banks for wanting to be ethically proactive and for remembering that while it
may have been just one person that filmed thousands of sheep dying of heat stress on the
Awassi Express, it was the whole nation that was shocked – except perhaps the minority of
people who work in the industry and are accustomed to these scenes.
It’s those people who are the minority group.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as provided DAWR with hundreds of
hours of footage secured in seven Indonesian abattoirs in making a complaint regarding
ESCAS non-compliance. ALEC claims that it is an “isolated” case – despite the amount of
footage submitted and despite Indonesia’s past track record. ALEC CEO Mark Harvey-Sutton says the industry has taken immediate action.
More accurately, it’s a reaction ....to a situation that bad publicity has forced them to
In a typically “transparent” move, DAWR has said that the Department will not provide
details of its investigation until it is complete. It is, however, working with exporters on the
Ho hum - we wont be holding out breath for the details of yet another "isolated" incident!
Harry Morrison, the friend of the Australian stockman, William Mainprize, lost when the Gulf Livestock -1 sunk was interviewed by Tortoise Media for a Spotify Podcast in April 2021. The Podcast details the murky world of international shipping interviewing both Ian Urbino (author of The Outlaw Ocean with a lifetime career in maritime journalism) and Morrison. From a maritime safety perspective, the Podcast vindicates and validates the new report into the state of the EU livestock shipping industry.
Morrison goes into the details of Mainprize's phone texts and Whats App conversations at the time of the tragedy. In addition to the terrifying situation being relayed before the ship sunk, the texts also indicate that this ship had engine problems from Day 1 out of port. This ship had a repeated history of mechanical failure....yet it was still allowed to sail, with engine difficulties, into a typhoon.
Totally heartbreaking for the families of all the crew. Apparently the two surviving Phillippine crew members have received some financial support from the ship's insurance money.....but none of the families who lost loved ones have received a penny. Interesting...
Listen on: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-forty-crew-members-of-gulf-livestock-1?viewupdates=1&rcid=r01-162634506221-3ca462ca1b6d41c9&utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_email%2B1137-update-supporters-v5b
So we have Moss, we have Carter and both expose transparency issues which the Dept agree to fix but take a look at the ASEL Rejection Criteria Guidebook publication....calling for submissions but only if one is a) a Dept officer or b) an AAV. And if that's not the fox in the hen-house, there is no access to the proposed criteria guidelines because they are password protected!
VALE observed ship-loading for 18 months in Fremantle until the public were disallowed after the Farmer Review - we saw too much. During that time saw so many sheep trucked to port with rejection criteria and far fewer going back on rejection trucks than were arriving ie sheep with rejection criteria were being loaded on each shipment. Department Officers were there. AAVs were there. Rejection criteria were ignored but these personnel are now the only ones given a say in rejection criteria.
Biased and not transparent.....in fact less so than ever. How we have progressed.
VALE will apply for a password but we are not hopeful...
The EU is currently discussing how to improve animal welfare during live export, with Eurogroup for Animals highlighting that German, Dutch and Luxembourg Ministers have presented a paper stating that they want to see live exports to third countries ended.
They state: “Member States of the European Union export millions of sheep and cattle each year to Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and Asian countries by road and sea. Despite many efforts to improve compliance with the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, and despite the fact that best practices exist, we conclude that the welfare of animals cannot be sufficiently guaranteed during these type of long journeys.”
They go on to say: “We have all witnessed the terrible situation earlier this year, when two livestock-carrying sea vessels were stuck on the Mediterranean Sea for months, which eventually ended in the killing of all the animals in the port of Cartagena, Spain.
“Finally, the conditions to which the animals are exposed after arrival at their destination, e.g. during onward transport, at livestock markets and at slaughter, must also be taken into account…
“We strongly advocate a shift from transporting live animals, to a trade in meat and carcasses, as well as genetic material.”
VALE joins Eurogroup for Animals in welcoming this position.
Beef Central reports Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive officer, Mark Harvey-Sutton, saying that the growing trend of financiers applying environmental and ethical conditions on those who they lend to or invest with is impacting the capacity of live export businesses to operate.
He goes on to ask: “What is unethical about providing food security to millions of people?”
Well, Mark, the problem is, that most thinking, ethical people know that’s not really the case. If it was, packaged meat could do the job.
Saying how dedicated the industry’s seafarers are, he says: “We should never underestimate the personal sacrifices of those staff.” True. They have indeed made sacrifice after sacrifice with poor pay, having to jump ship in Fremantle to force payment and going down with the ships. Just providing them with a decent salary and some seaworthy ships might be a nice indication that the industry actually care about them.
And it’s not “misinformation” to inform the ethical acts of financiers, it’s the Awassi Express, the Queen Hind, the Gulf Livestock 1, the Elbeik, the Barkly Pearl…
A new report released by Animal Welfare Foundation and Robin des Bois highlights the poor condition of livestock carriers operating in Europe.
The average age of the 78 EU-approved vessels is 41 years with 16 being 50+ years old. Only five were purpose-built for livestock. The average age at the time of conversion for the remaining 67 ships was 29 years, an age when most ships involved in other commercial trades are scrapped.
Age is a key risk factor for ship safety, and 28 of the ships have reportedly suffered major incidents including engine failure, fire and loss of stability.
In the past two years (or in the last 2 years of their trading life), 2,504 deficiencies were reported by port authorities. Two thirds of the 78 had deficiencies relating to Certificates and Documentation, Safety of Navigation, Fire Safety, Maritime Labour Convention, Life-saving Equipment, Working-Living Conditions or Pollution Prevention.
More than half had deficiencies related to Water/Weathertight Conditions, Propulsion and Auxiliary Machinery, Emergency Systems, Radio Communications, Structural Conditions and Ship Management.
It is telling that 55% of these ships sail under flags from risk and high-risk countries, according to the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control.
Live export is always tragic for the animals involved and where animal welfare issues exist, so do human issues - these crews also risk tragedy.
In 2008, "Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd ("Emanuel") and its directors were charged with cruelty to the sheep in that the way in which they were transported, and confined, was likely to cause the sheep unnecessary harm." The magistrate report stated "In summary, whilst the elements of the offence of cruelty to sheep, in the way of transport were proven, the AWA is invalid, that is inoperative, to the extent of its inconsistency with Commonwealth law due to operational inconsistency. On that basis the Accused are acquitted."
Fast forward to June 2021: a decision has just been handed down in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia that WA's Animal Welfare Act is not inconsistent with Commonwealth laws in relation to live animal exports. The decision was handed down in the ongoing Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development prosecution of Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd. The decision supports the State Government's position that WA's animal welfare laws can be applied to live animal exports without necessarily conflicting with Commonwealth law.
See: 2008 Magistrates Reasons for Decision