In June last year 72 cattle died en route from Victoria to Turkey triggering a high mortality voyage investigation.
The cattle were moved from a cold wet Victorian winter , to the height of the northern summer on a voyage lasting 37 days; temperatures on board ship exceeded the level reported by scientists to cause heat stress in cattle for 17 of those days. An AQIS report into the incident notes that the exporter used an off-label dose of vaccine and that DAFF signed off on that dose in the consignment risk management plan. Arguably, the Portland cattle should not have been loaded onto the ship; the Fremantle cattle on the same ship had a normal mortality rate.
There is evidence that the on-board vet did everything they could to help the cattle. Despite this, the report raises the prospect that the vet could possibly be prosecuted for not keeping proper records! Record keeping would not have saved these cattle.
VALE intends to do everything we can to ensure that the truth emerges. We also wish to throw our support behind the vet in question.
You can read a press release with more detail on our media page.
The Indonesian Government has moved to limit total beef imports from all sources in 2012. Indonesia is likely to reduce its live animal import quota this year by nearly half (500 000 to 283000), and so other markets will have to be found for the lighter steers and heifers from northern Australia. The report which comes from ABARES states that it is unlikely that alternative export markets will be found. You can download the PDF.
Regardless of animal welfare issues, we need to be thinking about transition to an alternative to live export NOW.
Yesterday we sent out a media release introducing ourselves to the world and were flooded with phone calls. Sky News had us lined up for an interview today, but unfortunately the federal Cabinet reshuffle saw it postponed. We sure got a lot of hits on the website though! Stay tuned ...