Live ex numbers in decline
According to Farm Weekly, live ex cattle numbers are expected to be down by as much as 300,000 head on last year, following resistance from Middle Eastern and South East Asian markets. Live export feeder and slaughter cattle exports totalled more than 865,000 head for the 12 months to April 2017, down 27 per cent on the previous year.
The importing of Indian buffalo meat to Indonesia in an attempt to reduce consumer beef costs has played a significant role. This begs the question of why we didn't secure a robust meat trade to Indonesia ….
The sheep market is also experiencing a decline in live exports, with April year-to-date figures down 12% from 2016 at about 1,790,000 head. Pricing is apparently an an issue and supply is an issue in WA….not that live ex in anyway competes with domestic processing…..
This is a positive for Australian animals but we cant lose sight of the huge number that will still have suffered in the last 12 months. Lets hope the decline in numbers continues.....!
Israel has again put a ban on live export from Romania. The Israeli government is committed to reducing live export (oh dear poor Australia) and increasing the imported meat quota and meat shelf-life. Interestingly, the article in Jerusalem Post does not list Australia as a beef supplier.......are we once again cutting our own throats with live ex? Why arent we looking to export Aussie meat and not Aussie live? Seems like sending our animals by boat is resulting in our producers "missing the boat".
You wouldnt be in live ex for quids. When live ex was suspended by the government.....it was the end of the world. However, when farmers needed to sell, the exporters paid them pittance. Now farmers are getting their own back. Good prices domestically mean no cattle for Wellard as farmers wont sell (poor poor Wellard!).
Odd that the producers and exporters express so much solidarity.....when everyone really just in it for themselves. Not so much mateship there it seems.
Oh and the animals......just commodities.
Our export meat market is enormous, consistently worth at least 7-10x our live ex market. In addition, it provides Australian jobs, value adding to Australian production. Yet the Australian brand value is threatened...by our live ex trade. Australian animals sent overseas, treated with antibiotics and other substances in the feedlots and on the boats, often killed before appropriate withholding periods for those medications in facilities that would not pass export standard for Australian slaughter or meat handling, jeopardise the Aussie meat brand. Thus the new bill...being put up by Nick Xenophon and supported by Bob Katter which seeks to make illegal the selling of meat from exported animals as "Australian product".
Apparently ALEC dont quite see it that way.....the Australia brand apparently extends to Aussie animals no matter how and where they are finished and slaughtered. One wonders, would wheat seeds originating in Australia but grown (aka "finished") overseas and contaminated with heavy metals be fine to sell as Aussie wheat too?
The Senate has passed a joint motion by Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon and Senator Derryn Hinch calling on the Turnbull government to ensure there will be no live export of equines for slaughter. HOORAY...and how ironic that it should be the last sitting day of pro-live ex Senator Chris Back.
However, this good news was offset by the grim news that Australian dairy cows will be winging their way to Qatar summer. It was only 5 years ago that gutsy veterinary technician Deb Clarke exposed the fate of Australian dairy cows in Qatar...and it wasnt pretty. If the current consignment are treated similarly, then we dont think the Qataris will be getting a lot of milk on their supermarket shelves.
Ex live ex vet Dr Lynn Simpson recently wrote about inadequate crew training on live ex ships. Guess it always follows....poor care for humans, poor care for animals and vice versa.
However, in addition to lack of general ship crew training Lynn also highlighted the very minimal training requirements for stockman aboard Australian live ex ships. Remembering that veterinarians do not accompany the vast majority of Australian live ex voyages, then animal health, disease diagnosis and treatment is all down to the stockman. A stockman is mandatory on every voyage. Vets arent. Great to know that a week long stockies course is considered adequate replacement for a vet! Wonder what we did at vet school for 5 years? No surprise that so many high mortality SE Asian voyages have "no definitive cause". No vets, no diagnoses. And with no definitive diagnoses, treatment (and thus animal welfare) likely to be suboptimal.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced on Monday they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, as tensions escalate in the region over accusations Doha sponsors terrorism.
A Saudi official cited by SPA said the country decided to "sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea and aviation ports".
Summer conditions in Qatar are horrific for livestock, especially those conditioned to winter in their country of origin. Onboard heat crashes in sheep are well reported in this region eg >4000 in the Bader III in Sept 2013 and >3000 on an Emmanuels ship in July last year. And thats just the onboard figures..we have no information from the feedlots after unloading...
So, looks like our sheep might get a reprieve heading into the 2017 Middle East summer, as Doha unlikely to be on the destination list for ships planning to visit other Middle Eastern ports.
Wellard has announced the sale of the Ocean Outback to an Israeli livestock company. Wellard is feeling the pinch of high cattle prices and soft demand in Indonesia. The EOFY figures will be interesting ....hopefully they won't be able to struggle along for too much longer!!!
Interesting that an Israeli company would buy the boat, with its somewhat dubious mechanical history, at a time when anti-export sentiment in Israel is running at an all time high. Perhaps it will be the downfall of more than one export company.....!