Apparently, live export provides the "greenest" protein to feed millions of families in the world. Hard to know what exactly is green about the live export industry:
using palm oil to cheaply fatten cattle in the Indonesian feedlots?
inefficiently shipping live animals not carcases?
The report also tells us that the Ag Departments maths are none too good....figures dont always add up in tables (Try Table C3) and, regardless, are discrepant with the figures on the Department's own website. No matter how they massage the figures, 17/23 completed reports/complaints on ESCAS non-compliance had adverse animal welfare outcomes (74%) and 16/23 (70%) of these reports were submitted by independent parties.
Last year VALE asked how Australia was going to fill its orders for the rapidly expanding trade....and now we have our answer. And it certainly isnt one that is good for animal welfare. With northern suppliers unable to meet demand, we are now trucking Bos taurus cattle from below the 26th parallel from Victoria and South Australia to Darwin, approximately 3000 plus km away in the heat of a southern mid-summer and the heat and humidity of a northern wet season.
So, yes it makes economic sense Mr Howie but its completely unethical. And how exactly are you doing it? Cattle can only be held off water for a maximum of 48h. These trips alone take at least 48h.
Oh and yes thats right, the live export market is a niche market that doesnt compete with the domestic market....at least, thats what we've always been told!
Wellard have commented that penalties too soft for ESCAS breaches. So, if the exporters support stronger penalties, surely the government must take notice and finally act.
The recent court case over the multiple breaches of the law that occurred on the Hereford Express (High Mortality Voyage 29) exposed that there is no government will to prosecute any live export breaches, even very serious breaches (ie mortalities on the vet report altered by the exporter, more sheep unloaded than loaded despite deaths, no stockman on board etc). Why dont they prosecute? They dont have to.
Soaring temperatures in early January were no impediment to trucking cattle to Adelaide Port and loading them onto the Ghena. Photographs on 2nd January (temp max 44 degrees) show drooling cattle which correspond to the MLA panting score of 2 or 2.5.
MLA recommendations for feedlot cattle are are follows: "For management purposes, if more than 10% of cattle are exhibiting panting scores of 2 or above, all handling and movement of the affected cattle should be stopped and only resumed when conditions become cooler and cattle have returned to normal".
But that's right, live export has a different respiratory character score to the MLA feedlot score...oh and they dont include drooling in their classification (McCarthy 2005). How very convenient....same cattle, same country but different purpose so different animal welfare guidelines. But just remember, we do really care about Australian livestock in Australia.