Outgoing LiveCorp chairman David Galvin recently stated that the live ex business had been particularly difficult and was hopeful that Aust cattle prices would come down. Doubt the farmers are wishing the same....and so much for the domestic and export market not competing for the same animals.
In addition, live export businesses were apparently told to "diversify or die"....we sincerely hope they dont diversify!
VALE requested information under the FOI Act (1982) about the GL Kaihou disaster. 7.79% of cattle died in a preventable tragedy – the public has a right to these documents. But no…some of them have been withheld by Narelle Clegg Assistant Secretary to the Live Exports Branch of the Dept of Ag (see our wesbite: DAFF correspondence). And some of the refused documents include information provided to the government by the government accredited veterinarian (AAV) on that voyage.
Reason? It would make the veterinarian reluctant to provide information to the government in the future. Really? THAT is exactly what the government accredited veterinarian is required to do under ASEL (ie by law). But no…..one AAV has outright specified that they will be reluctant to give information to the government in the future if their voyage information is released. And the government has agreed, presumably accepting that the veterinarians are hopelessly compromised by being employed by the exporters.
We so need independent veterinarians – this is the strongest hard-fact-evidence yet!
A government official sent to inspect Bader III as it prepared to leave with sheep for the Middle East last week was reportedly blocked from boarding because the vessel was under Federal jurisdiction. Was the official an animal welfare inspector? From the WA Livestock Compliance Unit (LCU)? If so, how very concerning.
According to the WA Ag Dept (technically the Dept of Primary Industries and Regional Development) website, the LCU's enforcement and compliance responsibilities under the WA Animal Welfare Act 2002 Act relate to commercial livestock and include "animal welfare monitoring at livestock aggregation points across all levels of the livestock supply chain (for example, saleyards, feedlots, abattoirs, knackeries and ports)". Maybe not?
Regardless of legalities, if the official was a LCU inspector then such action would raise the question of why the exporters didnt want to co-operate. According to ALEC, the industry needs a social licence to operate...and according to ALEC, welfare on ships is top notch. So, surely any exporter would throw the red carpet down the gangplank for a state government inspector so they could proudly display their exemplary animal welfare. Ah its such a transparent industry.
Sam Worrad, a journalist from The Veterinarian took up VALE's media release on the Bison Express disaster with the government and got the response that there is now a new assessment protocol: “Consignments where such a large number of animals are rejected are referred to a senior veterinary officer to consider whether the consignment should be stopped”.
Interesting – there was no mention of this possible action in Reports 61 or 64 (similar fiasco)….could this be due to VALE pointing out the bleedingly obvious in our media release????
Well for all of those who would have assumed that holes in the decks and bulkheads, wastage of the supporting structure, multiple issues with electrical cabling and an unserviceable generator (as reported in The West) would take quite some time to repair, apparently that is not the case. A mere 8-9 days after the ACCL was revoked for Al Messilah she is back in Berth 1 loading sheep. WOW...a pretty slick repair team obviously operating in Freo Port.
One cant help thinking back to the tragedy of the Danny F II with its corrosion issues that ultimately led to AMSA revoking its licence permanently and contributed to its sinking with loss of all livestock (from Uruguay), the captain and numerous crew, including one very respected Australian stockman. Presumably AMSA are satisfied with the current state of the Al Messilah because we know they have acted appropriately and diligently on previous occasions. We hope so anyhow, for the sake of all crew and the stock onboard.