Another tragedy is playing out onboard an antiquated livestock carrier – this one built in 1973. On February 23, the livestock carrier Spiridon II left Tarragona in Spain with around 300 young bulls from France and Spain and 7,600 Spanish sheep were on board. Their destination was the Port of Aqaba in Jordan, but engine problems interrupted the voyage, and the ship spent three days near Greek ports. Spiridon II was finally brought to Eleusis, near Athens, Greece on March 4. There the 8,000 animals were loaded directly from the Spiridon II to the Adel I, via a ramp, on the water.
There was no veterinarian on board and it remains unclear whether the animals were fit to continue the journey to Jordan after 10 days onboard the vessel.
Unloading the animals onto European grounds was not an option, because once on the water, they are declared as “export” animals and cannot re-enter the EU. This can lead to tragedies such as the prolonged suffering that occurred onboard the Karim Allah and Elbeik in early 2021, where 2,600 calves and cattle were eventually subjected to emergency slaughter after spending months at sea.
So, yet another live ex "incident" because this is a uniquely and inherently risky trade carried out on ancient vessels to countries with no animal welfare laws.
VALE welcomes the announcement by Dr Bidda Jones, Dr Jed Goodfellow and Dr Meg Good that they have launched the Australian Alliance for Animals. The Alliance is calling for the formation of an independent national animal welfare commission, a reform which was recommended by the productivity commission in 2017.
VALE agrees that the current regulatory system is "broken" and that archaic industry animal welfare practices are no longer acceptable even when industry claims they are. Live export is not acceptable and nor is the industry-appeasing, Government proposed windback on sheep export prohibition periods to the Middle East.
VALE welcomes news that Dr Bidda Jones, Dr Jed Goodfellow and Dr Meg Good have launched the Australian Alliance for Animals. The Alliance is calling for the formation of an independent national animal welfare commission, a reform which was recommended by the productivity commission in 2017.
At the same time, one of our veterinary colleagues over the ditch, Dr Helen Beattie, former Chief Veterinary Officer at the NZVA has launched Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Aotearoa (VAWA). The start-up aims to provide science-based animal welfare advocacy, creating better lives for animals using knowledge and expertise in veterinary and animal welfare science.
This move by eminent welfare scientists, lawyers and veterinarians is a clear indication that current regulatory systems are "broken" in both Australia and New Zealand. VALE wishes both groups all the best in their endeavours to improve animal welfare.
An article in Scoop has revealed stories of horrific injury, heat stress and abortion in cows shipped from New Zealand to China. Of course this was not in the public domain and the evidence from veterinarian reports was obtained from voyages last year obtained under the Official Information Act 1982.
So, its not just Australia.....same ships, same companies, same issues as per these two examples:
Heat stress: “On 7 May 2021, the Brahman Express departed Timaru. Seven fatalities were reported, including three pregnant Friesians who died from heat stress. Reported symptoms included abdominal discomfort, tremors, and mouth-breathing. One of these heat stressed individuals was described as “recumbent and not getting up” and was subsequently “hosed down” until she got to her feet. She died the following morning.”
Injuries: “Another vessel, the Yangtze Harmony, departed Napier on 8 April 2021 and reported 16 deaths during the voyage. Equally disturbing is the suffering these animals endured. A specific section for reporting on fractures reads, ‘Two leg fractures occurred early on the trip likely during loading. One neck fracture confirmed and one suspected, from being stuck in railings. Rib fractures in one animal presumed from trampling...The animal who had fractures in their right hind leg was not euthanised until ten days into the voyage.”
NZ has long been considered the the poster-child of good animal welfare but their live ex trade, unnoticed prior to the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 is ensuring their place on the animal welfare pedestal is crumbling. Yes, they are doing away with the live ex trade but meanwhile, animals continue to suffer and the country's reputation is being progressively tarnished.