So much for Australia caring so much about our Indo neighbours and their protein malnutrition .....when the beef prices are high, suddenly live ex drops (our neighbours protein requirements suddenly no longer important), and....the Indonesians turn to boxed beef for their precious protein! No great surprise there, protein never needed to be supplied as live animals. What is of concern is that under the sway of the powerful and self-interested live ex industry the Australian beef and pastoral industry has refused to look at boxed beef exports and now Brazil is jumping in and scooping the market. Well done Brazil.....shame on Australia.
According to Beef Central, the use of automated sensors to monitor environmental conditions on livestock ships is apparently a step closer to adoption following a successful technology trial carried out by research body LiveCorp. Congratulations to LiveCorp for pursuing the initiative....but we have a feeling that the exporters wont like the answers they get from it. Could just show that conditions are inhumane....???? Watch this space but expect all sorts of "practical difficulties" that preclude its implementation!
Human trafficking and slavery on the Elita and .....now unpaid sailors on Barkly Pearl and Diamantina. The Guardian reported that "Thirty five sailors were left unpaid for three months while aboard live export cattle ships with poor safety records amid a dispute between the ships’ managers and owners, one of whom is Australian businessman Nick Thorne". Apparently, both ships are 70% owned by Singaporean company Beng Kuang Marine (BKM) with Thorne owning the remaining 30% through his Northern Territory-based cattle export business, NTXLS.
The 7,700 tonne Diamantina and the 5,400 tonne Barkly Pearl normally take cattle from Australia to south east Asia but have been sitting idle in Indonesian waters for the past three months amid a dispute between the owners and their manager, Global Radiance Ship Management. Barkly Pearl was booted out of Australia by AMSA for 2 years in Jan 2021 after sailing around with a hole in the hull just months after being written up in Beef Central as an example of the world's highest standards!
On 26 November 2021, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) made a decision in response to the application by Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd and EMS Rural Exports to suspend the licences until today, 3 December 2021.
The AAT found that Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd did cease to be a body corporate of integrity but that Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd has now sufficiently rehabilitated itself so as to resume its status as a body corporate of integrity.
How reassuring that Emanuel Exports is now sufficiently rehabilitated.
As if animal welfare issues werent bad enough, now live ex has been associated with human trafficking. According to Splash 24/7 Spanish police apparently arrested the captain of an the livestock carrier Elita which arrived in Cartagena from Libya finding eight Syrians onboard who had been working as forced labour, without the right training or documents. The Syrians had apparently been working on the ship under “exploitative labour conditions” for several months after paying for a promised transfer to Europe, but were subsequently forced to work at sea.
This should be no surprise as an August 2021 article in The Guardian highlighted the value of livestock ships in illegal transport. The French NGO, Robin des Bois, which specialises in maritime safety stated that "Livestock ships are unrivalled in their usefulness for illegally transporting dubious goods, such as narcotics, weapons, counterfeit goods and wildlife by-products”. The advantages of livestock ships, include the off-putting logistics of where to put animals if a ship is impounded, the size of the vessels, their poorly paid crews, global reach and the stench that makes sniffer dog searches difficult or impossible.
NOTE: the Elita is the third name this ship has sailed under since 2019 (previously Bruna and Darya) and Guyana is its second country of registration since 2019 ....ho hum.
This time its not AA, its PETA....but slaughter footage of Australian cattle in Indonesia confirms that ESCAS fails to protect Australian animals with one animal taking over 10 mins to die, ineffective or no stunning, inappropriate handling etc. Oh yeah, and Govt have known since July
More undercover footage, more Indonesian slaughter atrocities, classic Ag Dept transparency (none) and usual industry excuse - just an isolated incident.... Isolated must have a new definition...because it is history repeating itself over and over and over again.
The Government have just released the findings of a review into heat and cold stress of Bos taurus cattle. Fifty-three voyages (24.8%) documented either elevated respiratory rate/character of 2 or 3 or elevated heat stress score of 2 or 3 and heat-associated behaviours were documented in 49 (22.9%) voyages.
And that despite the fact that the authors noted: a) single daily temperature recording not representative and department was unable to assess daily temperature ranges and b) the analysis was hindered by the quality, quantity, reliability and inconsistencies of available data in these reports.
Government gets months and years to analyse. Public and stakeholders got one month (ending Nov 29th) to comment at :https://haveyoursay.awe.gov.au/heat-and-cold-stress-in-bos-taurus-cattle/widgets/354859/documents
Dr Ross Ainsworth in Beef Central reported that there has been a relatively sudden slow-down in the trade and that the beef live ex trade is likely to continue to contract in the near future. As of October 2021, of the 16 cattle vessels normally operating from Australia to Asia, he reports only 7 are continuing to service the S E Asian trade.
Of all of the factors contributing to this dramatic slowdown in the trade, high cattle prices are the primary cause. Dr Ainsworth suggested it may even take 18 months for prices to moderate to a level at which our customers are able to restart profitable importation. He suggested that "the industry has no option but to batten down the hatches and sail into the unavoidable commercial storm and hope that they emerge from the other side in good order."
VALE hopes they never emerge from the other side and that this is the time that serious and considered long term plans should be built for a live-export free future - more certainty for farmers and definitely more certainty for the welfare of their stock!
When Gulf Livestock 1 went down in Sept 2020, VALE had just spent 6 months preparing a draft scientific paper on cattle export to China. The paper was put on hold and the information was recompiled into a detailed report supplied to the New Zealand Government. An updated document was also compiled and supplied to the Australian Government on request.
All this diverted from the aim - but finally it is published as an open access article in the prestigious journal Animals: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102862 The source data were the patchy, incomplete and highly sanitised Independent Observer Summaries published by the Australian Government (coupled with a few high mortality investigation reports). This analysis only provides a "thin edge of the wedge" snapshot of this little known section of the Australian live ex trade. Nonetheless, its a pretty shocking snapshot.
Note: VALE wishes to thank RSPCA Australia for contributing the open-access fee for this journal.
A year on from the Gulf Livestock 1 capsize (2 September 2020) and we still have no answers on what happened. Thankfully, we at least have the concentrated inspection campaign on ship stability which started in many ports around the world this month.
The purpose of the campaign on ship’s stability in general is:
- to confirm that the ship’s crew are familiar with assessing the actual stability condition on completion of cargo operations before departure of the ship and on all stages of the voyage;
- to create awareness among the ship’s crew and owners about the importance of calculating the actual stability condition of the ship on completion of cargo operations and before departure of the ship;
- to verify that the ship complies with intact stability requirements (and damage stability requirements, if applicable) under the relevant IMO instruments.