Latest news has Wellard announcing the sale of one, maybe two ships....the Swaggie and the Outback. So Mr Balzarini has sold his home, put his jet up for sale, is trying to sell other Australian pastoral assets...and now the ships are going. WOW.....things are looking bad. Of course, one wonders whether Wellard will actually have a market for these two ships that have had mechanical issues despite being fairly new (CHECK out VALE's Jan blog on the two ships.....for our predictive value.... and watch this space).
So....Elders has withdrawn from LE and Wellard is struggling. LE just aint looking so good financially these days. Dare we hope for more?
Lucky our Dept of Ag is not the Bureau of Statistics or the country would be truly in trouble! Dept of Ag have claimed that the number of sheep reported outside approved supply chains has dropped by two thirds…..and that that shows “The System is Working”.
Hmmm lets just think about that. Two million or so sheep transported per year and the unfunded “independent auditor” AA happens to find a few thousand outside the supply chain in a non-official, definitely non-approved snooping capacity at one particular timepoint in the year….and that means that things have improved and the system is working. The actual numbers are immaterial…the fact that the number is thousands, and that thousands of suffering Australian animals could be found at all despite ESCAS indicates one thing only…that the system is not working.
Got to love the Australian government’s sound bites. The only way to ensure “The System is Working” is to “Stop the Boats”. Should be a win win as the government loves its cracked records and to get two sound bites into one sentence…..
Got to love the NGO that does all the ESCAS auditing work for the Australian Government for free. They whip around the world, find all the ESCAS breaches that the government itself could find if it had a will and then reports them promptly so the government can pretty much ignore them. This year they have gone a step further, notifying the producers of the affected exported animals when they could obtain absolute animal identification One would have thought the industry might be grateful for such courtesy but no, they have damned Animals Australia for privacy breaches. Ah this industry and its transparency. Poor AA, damned if they do, damned if they don't.
What a week its been. First live-ex figure Garry Robinson gets charged on two counts of dishonestly influencing a Commonwealth public official and one count of using a false Commonwealth document to obtain a gain.
[One wonders which particular Commonwealth employee was "influenced". VALE has a few ideas about that one of course!]
And then, a one-page letter that the federal government has spent a year and a half and tens of thousands of dollars trying to keep from public sight raises explosive questions about the conduct and integrity of Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce. And who wrote the letter? The March 2015 letter was written by Paul Grimes, the former head of the Agriculture Department. Hmmm, same person to whom live ex-vet Dr Lynn Simpson wrote in Feb 2015, detailing her treatment by the Dept of Ag.
Oh what a tangled web is being woven.....
A recent media release by a live ex vet reveals that when feedlot vets were faced with soon-to-be exported cattle too sick to vaccinate with live vaccine, that they only gave 1/4 of the registered vaccine dose. Too sick to risk a live vaccine but fine to load onto a ship! This a direct contravention of ASEL (Australian law) and should be of grave concern, on many counts, to any Veterinary Board registering the veterinarians involved.
And the government, who registers these veterinarians as "accredited"? What action did they take? Did the government contact the relevant Veterinary Board? Probably not. Did the vets lose their accreditation with the government? Apparently not. Was any action taken over breach of ASEL? Definitely not?
We need independent vets who answer to an independent welfare office...not the Dept of Ag.
China has issued a strong warning to Australia that all cattle entering China must be healthy or they will turn back the boats! The reason? They eat the meat from these cattle within 14 days.
Do they realise that the only way that these animals turn up healthy is because some or all are loaded up with antibiotics, some of which have withholding periods of at least 35 days before human consumption?
Good to know that Australia knowingly lets the Chinese eat meat that would not be fed to Australians. Bad luck if anyone in China is allergic to said antiobitics...and as for antibiotic resistance issues.....oh well guess it doesnt matter.
Australia: leaders in animal welfare and irresponsible antibiotic use it would seem.
China: our export abattoirs adhere rigidly to withholding periods...far safer for you to import our beef than our live cattle.
Notice how everyone always concentrates on cattle? As far as the ALEC spin machine and the northern pastoralists are concerned there is only one species that Australia exports. FALSE.
Sheep have always been exported in far greater numbers than cattle..5 million/year in the mid 2000s and still more than 2 million/year in the late 2000s. AND, they are allowed to die on ships in far greater numbers....2% acceptable deaths... compared to cattle (0.5% on short haul and 1% on long haul).
Even former live ex vet Lynn Simpson concentrates mainly on cattle. However, in her latest article in Splash, she has definitely put the spotlight onto sheep.
Somehow Australians identify with cattle and their suffering but dismiss the suffering of these vulnerable, defenceless creatures. "Well they are just so stupid"...Or are they? The more researchers assess cognitive abilities of various species, the more this entrenched view is challenged. In some tasks, sheep can outdo humans and in others they perform as well as monkeys. Yet we are happy to jam them in a feedlot, shear them any-old-how, truck them with similar disregard, shove them on a boat, let up to 2% of them die (even though we could reduce this by identifying high risk candidates in the feedlot) and then leave them to their mercy in the Middle East (shoved into car boots, hacked up in home slaughter etc).
They are smarter than cattle but usually treated worse. They are shipped for longer and are far more likely to end up cruelly treated at the other end. IT MUST STOP.
Indonesia has thrown another hand grenade into the room. The import quota has gone but has been replaced by a requirement for breeder cattle to be imported alongside slaughter cattle. The Indonesian feedlotters are not happy with the Indonesian governments latest quirky attempt to create a local cattle industry. It will also be interesting to see how the business model of much of the northern cattle industry (i.e. throw as many on a boat as possible and hope the rest don't starve to death during the dry season) adapts to this new scenario if it ever eventuates.
VALE holds very real concerns as to the fate and monitoring of the 20% breeders that we will be required to ship with the cattle for slaughter. What assurance will Australia have that they dont end up slaughtered out of ESCAS (and not just at the end of their breeding life).