A study by Murdoch University on behavioural responses of sheep during short-term transport showed that sheep exhibit a range of behavioural expression in response to land transport which can be assessed by naive (untrained) observers. Previous studies have showed that behavioural differences reflected changes typically associated with stress.
Now, this study was only performed early in transport so conclusions cannot be drawn for long transport, sea transport etc. But what it does show, is that normal untrained people have the ability to accurately assess animal welfare. So all those silly "townies" who get distressed watching sheep trucks rolling into Fremantle Port with crushed sheep, legs hanging out everywhere, distorted awkward body positions may have a point after all....! What a surprise.....
Reference Collins T. Behavioural responses of sheep during short term transport. Proceedings of the AVA Annual Conference, Perth 2014, pp21-24
Only healthy animals are loaded?
Just for some relief from slaughter and ESCAS, worth pointing out the folllowing from the "Management of sheep during shipping and the role of vets" [Proceedings of Australian Sheep Veterinarians 2013]:
"Pink eye typically affects 5-15% of a consignment but sheep adapt well. Despite this, it is a welfare issue and it is difficult to implement practical treatment."
One wonders exactly how "adapting well" to a "welfare issue" is judged.....think last time you had anything in your eye....hardly life threatening but very debilitating....and you werent standing in 0.3 square metres, breathing in ammonia, possibly in high wet bulb temperatures not to mention standing upright on a heaving ship.
In his opinion piece in Beef Central, Dr Malcolm Caulfield explains why both the government and the industry should be looking to the beef industry and not to the live export industry.....$$ for Australia, welfare for animals, reputation of Aussie farmers.
A "must-read" for any intelligent Australian!
"It was a crazy decision, probably the most short-sighted blunder in Australian foreign policy in recent memory".....Prime Minister Abbott on the Indonesian trade suspension.
Lets just think about that one Tony....Most of can come up with a few major foreign policy blunders in recent years.... spying on the Indonesians, for example, which threatened more than just the LE trade. However, its pretty hard to go past one of the most significant short-sighted foreign policy blunders Australia has ever made....the decision by Howard's Liberal Government to invade Iraq for the "weapons of mass destruction" that werent there....something that set Iraq up for a civil war and also for increased global terrorism under IS (all predicted prior to the invasion). This terrible blunder has had enormous consequences for those in our armed forces, Iraqi civilians, the whole of Syria and probably most of the world for decades to come. Bit more significant than a temporarily grumpy Indonesia and a few sad farmers dont you think? Is there some short-term memory loss here?
A: when it is ESCAS!
So, ho hum, here we are, again, in another country (again), with yet more evidence that ESCAS doesnt work......and what do we do? We continue to work with ESCAS. And the public are expected to be satisfied with that?
So, the story unfolds.....as mentioned in a previous blog, it was amazing how quickly gangbusters turned mythbusters in Vietnam....and yep, prediction correct, independent footage inevitably followed. Well if ALEC could get footage, it wasnt going to be too hard for Animals Australia to get footage also. Wonder if the Dept of Ag is enjoying the viewing that is too graphic for the Australian public....ie bashing Australian cattle to death in tinpot Vietnamese abattoirs.
Vietnam is leaking like a sieve in all directions - has been for ages. Leaking (haemorrhaging?) locally, and into other countries (Cambodia, China etc). The exporters and the farmers know the rules. The rules have been broken. Australian cattle are suffering......extreme measures are necessary. Local cattle prices are good, northern cattle are being trucked south at the moment...and we are at the start of the dry season. Export to Vietnam must stop till this is fixed....period.
What a contrast to Australia: New Zealand's reputation is too important to allow the export of live sheep for slaughter, say NZ farming industry leaders.
Would be nice to think they were squeaky clean but thats perhaps not entirely the case. The NZ government have been accused of a dodgy deal with a previous Saudi Live Exporter. From 1989 until 2003, Al Khalaf exported about five million live sheep for slaughter into the Middle East from New Zealand, until the practice was stopped after 4000 sheep died aboard the Cormo Express. He has now apparently been compensated to the tune of $6 mill. No wonder the NZ farmers are outraged....they support the decision not to export live but, quite rightly, are not very happy when a Saudi millionaire, at the very heart of their ban (and financial hardship at the time) gets a nice compo payout. But then.....any rational Australian would know the same thing....there is only one clear winner in LE and that is the exporters!!!
Chilled meat a no-brainer
Forget the emotions, forget even for a moment, the animal welfare issues and just check out this link and look at the economics...chilled meat export is definitely a no-brainer and should always be the aim.
Check the DA reports for high mortality voyages....what happened to Report 51? Well its pretty clear which voyage this was: the Ocean Drover engine debacle in Jan-Feb 2014 (fits right in time-wise between Reports 50 and 52). Wellard self-reported the incident in media releases....so what's the delay in the investigation report? Is it DA inefficiency (possibly - could explain why when one clicks on Report 53 PDF, Report 54 PDF is downloaded instead!)? Or is it something unpalatable which industry and DA hope can just be slipped under the carpet without notice? No chance....we are continuing to watch and wait!
Real Aussie Farmers have explained that the comment "HEAT STRESS IS CONSTANTLY CLAIMING THE LIVES OF ANIMALS ON LIVE EXPORT VESSELS AS THEY CROSS HEMISPHERES ENROUTE TO THEIR DESTINATION PORTS" is just a myth, Myth Number 3 to be precise!
Very nice to know that all the work by the industry has been done on a nonsense topic. All those MLA reports clearly rubbish. The Heat stress Risk Assessment for voyages is probably unnecessary and clearly both industry and DA vets keep getting it wrong. As for the scientific papers on the topic.....obviously fatally flawed peer review processes.
So, why do those animals pant when the temperature gets a bit hot and sticky? It's obviously just the excitement of being on a nice cruise with their mates. And sometimes the excitement is just all too much for them.....must have been a great party on the Bader when over 4000 died on an afternoon .....of excitement.