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
North Australian Cattle Company (NACC) has gone into voluntary administration.
The ABC reports the company was founded in 1980 and was run by Elders for nearly three decades until its sale to a Chinese-Australian buyer in 2017. Interestingly, Elders reported a loss of $2.9m from its Live Export businesses in the 6 months to 30 March 2016 and they were quoted as saying "margin performance in the long haul business has continued to be poor and we believe that margins are unlikely to recover in the near to medium term.”
A market analyst is quoted in the article as saying that NACC could go through this and re-emerge. Surely 2 lots of business failings would be evidence enough that this live export is not good for business or animal welfare.
However, VALE's biggest concerns are the welfare of NACC cattle awaiting processing in Vietnam. No matter what exporter is involved, there are always welfare concerns about the cattle shipped to and processed in Vietnam with repeated reports of cruelty including use of sledgehammers, the practice of 'flooding', cattle unstunned prior to slaughter, cattle deliberately taken out of approved supply chains to an unknown fate…
It’s time for all of the live exporters to stop making Australia party to this cruelty. If it takes receivership to force the change, so be it.
Vessel Tracker reports that 43 of 512 cattle aboard the 'LSS Success' have died during the voyage from East London (South Africa) to Port Louis (Mauritius), where it arrived on April 29, 2021. 8.4% mortality. The bodies of the dead animals were thrown into the sea during the voyage so no reports or necropsies available to assess the cause. Just another live ex disaster with no answers....
And the ship? Well according to Vessel Tracker, it has an interesting history also. Customs and drug enforcement officers reportedly found drugs on board of the 'LSS Success' on June 13, 2020 in Port Louis. 39 kilos of cannabis were found, including two kg of resin and one kg of paste. Five crew members were arrested, including four Indians and one Tanzanian. The ship had arrived on June 13 from Cape Town (in Stage 5 Covid lockdown) and Luanda.
Drug smuggling. High mortality voyages. All in a day's work!
In an article in Farm Weekly, the live ex industry continue to whinge about the amount of money it takes to regulate this industry. The industry is right to question the amount of money being spent to try and ensure some sort of animal welfare in the live export trade. But, they are right only because no amount of money will eradicate the consistent and inherent animal cruelty that continues to occur. New Zealand has recognised this and acted on it....not activists (as claimed in this piece) but Government. Australia is still dragging its heels.
Uruguay, reportedly sees the exit of NZ as an opportunity to increase shipments of dairy and beef breeding stock to China. This despite the fact that they have a steadily expanding global meat market without attracting the risks (to producers and the animals).
Uruguay believe they can manage animal welfare risks when a country like New Zealand, with a very high welfare reputation cannot. Not only that but apparently, Uruguay can ensure that live ex ships dont sink where NZ couldn't. In reference to the sinking of Gulf Livestock 1, Agriculture Minister Carlos Maria Uriarte apparently asserted “We need to take all the necessary precautions and be zealous about the welfare of the animals involved in this activity so these types of accidents don’t happen.”
Congratulations to Britain for its move to ban the live export of animals for slaughter and fattening, explore prohibiting the sale of foie gras and formally recognise animals as sentient beings. Leaving the EU has given the country of animal lovers greater power to act on their behalf. VALE welcomes the Animal Sentience Bill and notes that UK and NZ, continue to make Australia look barbaric with their failure to acknowledge the issue of sentience in the live ex trade.
Up to $10 million is being made available by the Department of Agriculture for “innovative live export health solutions.”
Sheep Central reports David Littleproud saying that maintaining and demonstrating good welfare outcomes currently places considerable regulatory burden on industry, as current monitoring and reporting is largely manual, repetitive and resource intensive.
Ah, so it’s not actually animal welfare he’s concerned about. Thanks for the clarification.
Regarding the NZ decision to ban live ex, the New Zealand Veterinary Association’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Helen Beattie, stated "we are not surprised by the decision and believe it is consistent with advances in animal welfare science that acknowledges animal sentience – meaning animals have feelings, both positive and negative, just like humans."
And yep, Australian animals have exactly the same sentience as NZ animals so its no more right to live ex here than it is in NZ.
Do we need to wait for another Gulf Livestock 1? Another report of cruelty in a destination country? Or worse....do we need New Zealand to show us how it’s done?
Australian farmers could, voluntarily, and on their own terms, be a proactive force for positive change and show the world that Australia really are animal welfare leaders (not just an empty boast!).
The New Zealand Government has formally announced it is banning the export of live cows and other farm animals by sea due to welfare concerns with a two year phase out. The country temporarily suspended such exports last year after the sinking of Gulf Livestock 1 but a review of live exports was already undewray from the previous year.
Minister O'Connor said the risk to the country's reputation outweighed any financial gains because there was no way to safeguard the welfare of the animals once they left New Zealand's shores.
“New Zealand must stay ahead of the curve in a world where animal welfare is under increasing scrutiny if we truly want to be the most ethical producers of food,” he said.
Congratulations NZ for their careful assessment, ethics and animal welfare concern. Australia of course is not troubled by such scruples...but perhaps the NZ example will lead others eventually.
TVNZ tonight ran with the exclusive that the New Zealand Government is set to ban live- ex. The trade from NZ may not end overnight but end it surely will. NZ has long led the world in animal welfare including banning live ex for slaughter years ago. This latest decision to ban the live export of dairy cattle will set them even higher as champions of animal welfare....whilst Australia falls further and further behind. Well done NZ and congratulations to the NZ Government.