Officials from the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development last week raided the Anna Marra live export ship which was docked in Fremantle port. The officials were searching for documents relating to the deaths of about 2000 sheep on the ship in 2017 during a voyage to Kuwait. And the industry is upset???
We have footage that shocks a nation and a full scale investigation into that. The consequences for the animals were shocking. The repercussion for both industry and farmers enormous....and some time down the track more information is required by the investigators and the ship is raided......seems reasonable.
But no, the bleating live ex industry describes it as a vendetta. Oh please.
More than 1,500 head of cattle and 99 buffalo from Australia have disappeared from approved feedlots or abattoirs in Vietnam over the past 13 months, according to a Federal Department of Agriculture report.The Dept has outline 2 critical, one major and one minor non-compliance. (See ABC report)
One incident shows CCTV cameras were tampered with before 644 head of cattle went missing from a feedlot. The feedlot owner denied any of the cattle were missing when first time exporter Purcell tried to verify their whereabouts, the owner was unable to provide any evidence. According to the ESCAS report, "the feedlot owner seemed to have complete disregard for ESCAS requirements despite verbal advice to the contrary".
In a separate incident, exporter Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) could not account for "nearly 1,000 animals" it shipped to Vietnam, which the company did not report to the department within the time period required under ESCAS rules.
Eventually, the company was able to track down where the animals went, determining that of the 872 cattle, 471 were traced to approved abattoirs and 401 died or were euthanased in feedlots. WOW....50% feedlot deaths.....ESCAS failure vs feedlot failure? Which is worse?
RSPCA stated that "Even though it is only a third of the size of the Indonesian market, it has three times the number of non-compliances over the last several years … that's a factor the Australian Government needs to take seriously," Mr Goodfellow said.
Once again, it is clear that no scheme an protect Australian cattle and sheep once they leave Australian shores.
The Ocean Drover has a low mortality voyage on a May-June voyage and an n=1 is apparently supposed to change the face of heat stress science!
The 28C wet bulb limit was exceeded on the 8th day of the 15-day voyage when a 34C wet bulb temperature was recorded but Wellard stated:
“The success of this voyage, with almost 57,000 sheep on board, demonstrates that modern ships with good ventilation and reduced stocking densities can achieve excellent animal welfare performance, even when hot and/or humid conditions occur,” he said.
So here we are right back at the beginning. Sheep can suffer but not die and that is all OK. Its amazing how much Wellards know about science...more it seems than their financial expertise.
The media in Israel have reported that the Maysora, carrying 20,000 cattle in addition to sheep arrived in Eilat on the morning of Friday, June 7. Reportedly, workers began removing the animals from the ship Friday night, and didn’t finish for five days. The animals onboard were left in hot, crowded conditions.
The Agricultural Ministry said 34 of the calves died onboard, and 30 died after disembarking, according to the report. Footage of the dead cattle with Australian ear tags can be seen here (WARNING: distressing):
If that is not bad enough, the footage of the unloading (WARNING: distressing) in temperatures that killed people that week was nothing short of appalling with electric prodding and stomping of down animals.
NOTE: the media link states Friday June "8th". Friday was June 7th and Marine Traffic had the Maysora docking in Eilat on Friday June 7th.
NEW ZEALAND’S agriculture minister Damien O’Connor says the country is considering a conditional ban on the live export of cattle as one of several options being examined as part of a review of the country’s trade in live animals.
He stated “there have been incidents over the last few years that highlight the fact that once animals leave New Zealand we have very limited ability to ensure their wellbeing when they reach their destination.
“That’s something that’s not acceptable to me and I know it’s not acceptable to a large number of New Zealanders.
GO NZ. NZ has always been ahead of Aust in animal welfare....looks like the gap is set to widen further!
Seems like tensions in the Middle East have heightened adding yet another layer of danger to live export of Australian ships.
Four tankers were hit with limpet mines in Fujairah (in the Straits of Hormuz, apparently whilst the Al Shuwaikh was there at anchorage). This was a week prior to the controversial departure of the Ocean Drover - no doubt DAWR cant find their school geography books to look up where the Straits of Hormuz actually is.
This escalating issue between Iran and the US is driving the tension and instability of passage in that area. The reports are all about oil....but all ships in that area are at risk. Yet another risk on top of all the others.....
See ASX Announcement below: It looks as though Wellard note holders (non-bank debt) are calling time on the company. It is seems unlikely that Wellard can sustain a $1M per month “repayment” and banks will no doubt push their way to the front of the queue if they have even a sniff that insolvency approaches.
Other outcomes are possible but looks like the market has called “Time” on this business.
First one to go down??
ASX Announcement 11 June 2019
Update on debt restructure
Wellard Limited (ASX:WLD) (Wellard or the Company) provides the following update on its debt restructure.
As announced on 1 April 2019, Wellard agreed a standstill with its noteholders in respect of certain defaults existing under its notes. The standstill period was scheduled to end on 30 September 2019, and during the standstill period Wellard was to grant certain security to the noteholders. Wellard has not been able to grant security to the noteholders, so under the terms of the standstill agreement, the standstill period ended on 7 June 2019.
Because the standstill period has ended, the noteholders are again entitled under the terms of the note documentation to demand immediate repayment of their outstanding notes due to the defaults. The current outstanding principal amount of the notes is US$15,500,000.
The noteholders have reserved their rights, but they have said they will continue to negotiate in good faith with Wellard to achieve a mutually acceptable solution. The end of the standstill period has triggered an increase in the note interest rate to 21% per annum and an increase of the monthly redemption amounts to US$1,000,000, and Wellard will be discussing these with the noteholders.
Prior to signing of the standstill agreement, defaults on the notes constituted cross defaults under certain of Wellard's other financing arrangements. This cross-default was remedied during the standstill period. The end of the standstill period places Wellard in a similar position with respect to the note defaults creating cross defaults. Wellard is communicating with its other financiers in respect of this situation.
Wellard remains up to date on all payments to its financiers.
The Board continues to actively consider its options, including any opportunities to restructure its balance sheet and/or sell a ship. However, it is not certain that any such opportunities will arise or be completed in the short term.
Whilst everyone has been concentrating on sheep, the disasters of the cattle trade to China have been largely overlooked: high mortality voyages, near high mortality voyages, shocking voyage conditions and temperature fluctuations...and at least 2 voyages where they ran out of food. AND the Dept still has no requirement for vets on these voyages that can take over 20 days - whats it going to take???