An anonymous submission to the NZ Parliament by an experienced cattle veterinarian validates VALE's report and analysis of the China voyages (Hing et al 2021).
Across the Equator: "there was no way of significantly reducing either factor [heat/humidity]that the cows were experiencing. During this period the cattle didn’t have enough time to adapt to the warmer weather, so it really was a brutal period of ‘survival of the fittest’."
And:the majority of the cattle on the ship to exhibit signs of heat stress (ranging from mild to severe) as we crossed the equator. Despite our best efforts to get all the cattle across the equator alive, two cattle died of heat stress on the journey. Although the two cattle written down on our trip report represent a low mortality rate attributable to heat stress, the pain and distress they and the surviving cattle experienced still haunts me.
And: It wasn’t a simple problem, and it didn’t have a simple answer. I still don’t have an answer for how to prevent heat stress. In my opinion heat stress is an inevitable and unacceptable aspect of transporting cattle by sea across the equator.
See FULL REPORT: ttps://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/53SCPP_EVI_115891_PP2427/3f9275012e56ee5fd5e145bbc0626c3ca58d8c45
Seems that the latest live ex shipping tragedy has really case a spotlight on live ex within the maritime industry. Lloyds List, Maritime Express, American Shipper have all carried insightful comments from a maritime perspective. The latest of these is from American Shipper on 21 June 2021 in an article entitled "Livestock Shipping Strikes Again: Death and Cruelty on the High Seas". Maybe tolerance is also wearing thin in the global maritime industry and maybe ship insurance will also start influencing the fate of this archaic trade that is long overdue to end.
A damning article about the live ex shipping fleet, its age, safety record, contemporary lists of disasters globally etc has been compiled in Lloyds List, one of the world's oldest continuously running shipping news media. The article reflects on the latest tragedy, the loss of 15000 sheep from an overloaded vessel that capsized in port and opens with "Third serious casualty involving a livestock carrier this year highlights low standard of operations for much of the industry".
Animal welfare concerns and shipping concerns with both under increasing scrutiny. The writing is on the wall for this trade.
A release from the highly credentialed and objective Animals Alliance provides well researched links that show phasing out live ex will benefit the Australian economy and create jobs. This industry operates because big business concerns (ie exporters) make a lot of money out of it. They then commission their own reports and provide information to the farmers. Independent analyses almost never agree with the findings.....because, go figure, they are independent and have no conflict of interest. Sheep export is on the way out ....instead of involving 6 million sheep and 4 states, it is down to 570000 sheep from 1 part of one state. Its time to move on: better for Australia, better for WA and better for the sheep.
See full article:https://www.allianceforanimals.org.au/resources/separating-fact-from-fiction-why-a-phaseout-of-live-sheep-export-is-good-for-the-economy-and-animal-welfare?fbclid=IwAR1ykUIzs-Rznm3G4wRLWlR5VRXl3TTdr_DAIqwAcA6QvgYowypMUXt0pGc
From 1 March to 31 August, AMSA ran a Covid-disrupted inspection campaign of live ex ships. Only 14/26 ships leaving Australia during this time were inspected. They found numerous deficiencies including:
3/14 had livestock pens that could not be effectively drained of fluids under any expected condition of trim or angle of heel - a welfare issue
2/14 did not provide satisfactory non-slip surfaces for livestock - a welfare issue
1/14 did not use accurate values for the calculation of ship stability for its voyage - a worry for both animal and human safety
1/14 had made changes to structural arrangements onboard that were not sanctioned by the ships flag administration
1/14 ships’ crew were not familiar with the onboard procedures to restore power - a very big concern when ventilation can make the difference between life and death for animals onboard.
AMSA stated that "the deficiencies observed during a relatively low number of inspections is of concern to AMSA" and with >20% vessels being unable to effectively drain livestock pens and 15% having inappropriate surfaces, both producers and Dept of Ag should be on alert that this trade still has a very long way to go before welfare can be acceptable, let alone good.
With the northern summer ban in place, it is curious that Al Messilah was used in May to transport sheep from Fremantle to Kuwait whilst the Al Kuwait lies idle in Singapore. Is Al Kuwait out of of action OR are the Kuwaitis getting their sheep from somewhere else....Iran? With the writing on the wall for live ex from Australia, it is possible that the exporters will concentrate on other countries....ie all the small minority, squeaky wheel, WA farmers who cant see the writing on the wall and still export may in the end count for nothing because the exporters ditch them.....business is business!
Seems industry confidence was not misplaced. After the sweeping statements from the Ag Minister this morning, Albanese has already backed down and has been quoted as saying either that a) the ban wont occur THIS term or that b) the phaseout wont occur THIS term. Sorry Albo, this isnt going to wash with Australian voters.
The live ex sheep trade has been limping along for years.....3 years is more than enough for a phase out - NZ have canned their whole dairy live export industry in TWO YEARS (and yes its worth far more than the Aust sheep live ex trade). And now the new Aust Govt is already caving in to industry...no wonder they think No isnt No....they KNOW, it isnt.
Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has confirmed the Australian government will ban live sheep exports by both air and sea. "We honour the commitments that we make, whether they be in this field or anything else," he said. BUT...the industry believes it can still change the federal government's decision. They are also surprised at the ban of air export - they still have not grasped that the continual ESCAS breaches in the sheep export trade, including the countries serviced by air (SE Asia) show that it doesnt matter how the sheep get there, the fate of the sheep, the leakage of sheep and unstunned slaughter of sheep are unacceptable. The Australian public has said NO. The party that made the promise has said NO. When is No not No?