Yes VALE is like a cracked record….VALE demand independent vets on every ship. VALE is not alone in this. The Australian Veterinary Association policy on live export reads as follows (with VALE bolding):
"Where live export occurs, an Australian-registered shipboard veterinarian must accompany each shipment and this veterinarian must be independent and thus not employed by either the exporting company or the shipping company. Pregnancy testing of animals for export must be performed by an Australian-registered veterinarian."
The only legal requirement under ASEL 2.3 is that every ship must carry a stockman – clearly a person who has done a 2 week accreditation course is the perfect substitute for a veterinarian, who has done 5 years of training and has learned about drug doses for example…and drug withholding times.
FOI docs on Voyage 61 Bison Express from Townsville to Vietnam show that the stockman was trying to ease pain by giving 10 ml of an anti-inflammatory drug called tolfedine. These cattle, mostly in excess of 500kg, were slaughter cattle. The dose of tolfedine is 1 ml/20 kg. These cattle weren’t 200kg ie they appear to have been under-dosed. Was this an accident (stockperson not vet) or were they running low on supplies so eking the stuff out? Needless to say the surprisingly low dose of tolfedine was NOT discussed in the Department of Ag’s Investigation into the incident so we will never know. VALE does intend to write to the Chief Veterinary Officer however.