So, hot off the press, another live ex disaster in the Middle East. About a year after from losing 4.36% of a consignment (>3000 sheep) in July 2016 due to heat stress Emmanuel Exports had another disaster: 3.76% (2400 sheep) in August 2017. Last time they were told to load industrial fans onto the Al Messilah and check their weather forecasting! Looks like the latter wasnt enough to prevent a disaster on their other ship, Al Shuwaikh. The West Australian reports that this was also due to heat stress.
BUT could this one be different? Nick Butterly in The West reports that this time WA is looking to intervene with their own investigation. Could this be the first court case since the Al Kuwait case in WA found a routine voyage to be cruel with the exporters avoiding prosecution because it was deemed to be a Federal rather than a State matter? VALE dares not hope. Australian livestock should NEVER be transported from an Australian winter to a Middle Eastern summer: 8 extreme ME disasters in 8 years...and all 8 in summer/early autumn.
Check out VALE's own media release on both the Al Messilah and Al Shuwaikh disasters: http://www.vale.org.au/media.html
They tell us that the ships are A1 and that all the old photos etc not relevant but we still have the Finola sailing. Finola was built in 1988 and at one stage in her career, when she broke down in the Middle East, one Australian AAV refused to sail any further on her and demanded to be taken off. He had to be replaced with another AAV.
And now, here she is broken again....and whilst quarantine is technically maintained, these animals, travelling back to an Australian property on Australian trucks (do they get meticulously scrubbed down after?) have been on a ship that travels OS and probably carries OS animals as well (VALE hasnt even been tracking her as we assumed she was no longer in service).
This IS a risk to Australian animals whether anyone admits it or not. Its impossible to fully clean and disinfect ships and its impossible to fully clean and appropriately disinfect trucks. If there was any exotic disease being carried on this ship unloaded Australian stock put the entire Australian cattle herd at risk.
Over and over again, like a cracked record, the industry tell us that the photos from experienced live export veterinarian Lynn Simpson are outdated and that the conditions onboard ships are good, even on occasion being likened to luxury cruises.
Well here is the video that tells us that Lynn Simpson's report to the ASEL Review is as relevant in 2018 as it was in 2012. Bear in mind that the major exporter involved in this shipment is one of the major exporters from Australia and that we are repeatedly told that all the exporters care deeply for the welfare of their shipboard livestock.
So, here is the video from Brazil, in 2018, from the Nada, in Portugese, but the pictures tell the story:
1) space allocation here is the same or slightly more generous than that on Australian ships. YEP thats it.....no ability for all animals to lie down or move easily in a pen. Not all animals can lie down at the same time, meaning they have to take “shifts” or lie on each other causing likely injury or suffocation.
2) the fodder has a high percentage of dusty components indicating that the pellets have disintegrated. This can be unpalatable to cattle leading to shy feeding or can result in the occurrence of unusually high incidence of potentially fatal bloat. Hopefully this doesnt happen in Oz but who knows?
3) some water troughs are undrinkable and fouled with sludge from broken down pellets or pellet powder/dust washing off cattle mouths when they drink- making water undrinkable
4) evidence of animals with clear pathology (eye and limb) in general pens - were they loaded with these conditions? Perhaps loading healthy stock only happens in Australia where the caring exporters are required to do so by law.
4) interestingly and bizarrely, the amount of sawdust bedding in empty pens appears to be much more generous than on Australian voyages (cheap in Brazil?), yet even that amount is not sufficient to prevent animals being coated in faeces.
This is live export, the real thing...not the sanitised industry photos. A big thank you to those in Brazil who provided this diligent footage. Amazing work.
Seems as though Brazil has done what Australia dare not do.....fine the exporters for animal mistreatment...and then chuck in an environmental fine on top.
Minerva foods is being fined by the Environmental Secretariat (from Santos city) around USD $490000 for irregularities in animal transport They have also fined Minerva Food for atmospheric pollution (hmm now there's a thought for Freo Council...they could do with 660K USD!). The ship is not allowed to leave and the order is that the animals be unloaded. At this stage however, the animals all still seem to have remained on the Nada.
Astounding....Australia has the best animal welfare in the world but we wont act. Brazil has shown us the way.