Whilst an article in The Australian's Business Review expressed admiration for a Chinese business man, it hardly describes a good business case for live export.
We have: documentation of ESCAS failure with supply leaks, we have high cost of importing Aussie cattle, we have an Aussie beef exporter pulling out due to fears of brand tarnishing and we have the warning about loss of confidence by Chinese consumers once "Aussie beef" is no longer shipped direct but processed in China from our exported animals. China has had copy watches, copy clothing.....of course copy-beef is going to follow. If The Australian's Chinese correspondent sees the problem (and a high end Aussie beef supplier also)...then it would be a good idea for Aussie producers to listen.
Are Aussie farmers seriously going to support a 1 billion AUS live export trade at the expense of their 10 billion export meat trade? Time to take a long hard look at this we think.
Reading Beef Central on risk of re-export feels like déjà vu.
VALE noted that PK Livestock and Meat in Pakistan, which was aligned at the time with Wellard, was importing Aussie livestock…and shipping it out as chilled and frozen meat. At the time we blogged on this absolute idiocy.
And now, here we are again. Everyone flogging off meat from imported Australian livestock , with their uncertain drug residue status (as highlighted by Barnaby Joyce in Senate Estimates), not to mention that “Aussie meat” certainly is not going to be slaughtered to our high Aussie export abattoir standards. Beef Central are right to draw attention to the potential for microbial contamination and also drug residues…and the risk to Australia’s beef industry….if this faux-Aussie meat gets exported.
And here’s a thought…..maybe that second rate meat will one day get sent back to Oz to feed the Aussie demand for beef…..
Just to do a wrap up on the Al Shuwaikh.
After a heatwave, mechanical breakdown and delays in Adelaide, this old icon of the live export trade, sailed into Freo during the early hours of Monday 20th Feb. VALE Spokesperson Dr Sue Foster did offer to examine the ship with ALEC's CEO Simon Westerway who was in WA but ....that offer was rejected.
A flash protest was held on the opposite side of Port at 6pm. Sue was there as a speaker and also answered questions in a Q and A type affair. The irony was that Sue wouldnt have been available to speak at the protest at all if Simon Westerway hadnt pulled the pin on a meeting....yep the second meeting with ALEC that has been cancelled at short notice.
Well here we are in the 21st Century, with all these marvellous updated livestock carriers.....or so we are told......
So for all those who just want to feast their eyes, we suggest popping in to Fremantle Port today.....we have the Dareen (1994) and the Bader (a very youthful 1978).
And, no, VALE has no idea why the Bader spent much of last year bobbing about in the Middle East. Rumours abounded but its safe to say she wasnt scrapped. Refit? Possible but not immediately apparent. Coat of paint....ah there's a thought...those rust stains certainly seem to have a diminished ....a little. Marvellous what a coat of paint can do for animal welfare and morale.
ALEC have posted a media statement and video about the current situation onboard Al Shuwaikh. The video shows clean, happy, healthy sheep.
VALE's understanding is that the Al Shuwaikh has mostly double tiered decks but the footage provided is of single tiered decks. What are the temperatures and conditions on the double tiered decks? How many single tier/double tier decks are there? Some verified footage would be very helpful or perhaps a VALE representative could inspect the ship?
Last week during Adelaide's heatwave, the live export industry loaded sheep onto an very old livestock carrier, Al Shuwaikh Five days later, the vessel is still sitting off Port Adelaide, due to reported mechanical problems.
Deja vu really: in 2011, the Al Messilah (another Kuwaiti ship) also broke down in Adelaide and 67000 sheep had to be removed, a quarantine risk to Australian flock and a welfare issue for the affected sheep.
The Al Shuwaikh was built in 1986 and can carry at least 60000 sheep. The Al Messilah was built in 1980.
So good that we have this new modern fleet of livestock ships.....Watch this space as the situation unfolds.
Barnaby Joyce's answers to Senator Rhiannon's questions concerning responsible antibiotic use in exported Australian animals are now back (see summary). Upshot is, that so long as antimicrobial resistance occurs outside Australia, then it is no problem.
Is Mr Joyce's understanding of the potential role of food-producing animals in antimicrobial resistance really so very limited? Well just in case it is... veterinarians have had training in microbiology. So VALE can assure Mr Joyce, that antimicrobial resistance is a worldwide problem. And what affects one country can so easily affect the next. It isnt something that can be controlled by Australia's border security....well not unless "stop the boats" becomes "stop the planes"....
Hmm perhaps Australia's politicians should be placed in quarantine for a month or so...with regular stool sampling....after their overseas jaunts.
Bendigo Labor MP Lisa Chesters recently shared her views on local and live export animal cruelty...and voters... in an interview with The Land.
VALE agrees with Ms Chesters that there is a long way to go with animal protection in Australia but cruelty by farmers or transporters such as that described in Bendigo can, at least nominally, be investigated and potentially prosecuted in this country. This is not the case once animals are exported.
Ms Chesters should acknowledge that millions of Australians are appalled by what they see of the horrors of the journey and the slaughter of animals exported from this country. It's called compassion. And if these horrors were routine in Australia then they would be equally appalled and expect potential leaders such as Ms Chesters to do something about it.
There is something deeply offensive about the smug reference to 'keyboard warriors'. These Australians are motivated to contact their elected representatives and yet are dismissed out of hand as ignorant. These Australians are taxpayers and voters and they are treated with contempt.
Ms Chesters' ramblings show a lack of knowledge of animal suffering in live export as well as the economic consequences to local economies. VALE supports the Labor policy to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. We wonder whether Ms Chesters is aware of its existence.
Well it appears that the "inadvertent" public posting of live ex vet Lynn Simpson's confidential submission to ASEL has the potential to hurt the live ex trade further. Dr Simpson's ASEL submission is now being used as evidence in an Israeli court in an attempt to stop Israel's importing of live animals (including those from Australia) for slaughter.
So.....Lynn Simpson is pursuing the Aust Govt for loss of livelihood. If the trade from Australia to Israel is halted, will the live export industry also sue the Aust Govt ...over the same leaked document? Wouldnt that be an irony? Might be a way for Wellard to recoup some of their recent losses?