Not such a good year for KLTT and its partners. In November, live export company Emanuel Exports and two of its former directors have pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges stemming from a voyage to the Middle East on which about 2400 sheep died. Now formal charges have been laid against Al Mawashi (KLTT) in South Africa. The charges relate to carrying of animals in such conditions that cause them unnecessary suffering (under terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962).
According to NSPCA, the charges were laid against the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) as well as Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Al Mawashi (the company shipping the sheep on the livestock carrier Al Shuwaikh which has a company in South Africa), the captain of the Al Shuwaikh, the Page Farming Trust and individuals from the Page Farming Trust.
The NSPCA claims that conditions on board the Al Shuwaikh included dangerously high ammonia levels on some of the enclosed decks, dirty conditions including feces in the food and water troughs, and other welfare concerns. A far cry it would seem from the pristine footage from the same ship from Dr Holly Ludeman and her sidekicks. Dr Peta Lewis in one video states that "the crew really cares" so it is interesting that the NSPCA claim to have such a different experience and that they have also laid charges against the Al Shuwaikh captain....who was almost certainly the same as that in the Australian industry footage.
Now where were we on "black swans"????
- KLTT owns the Al Messilah and the Al Shuwaikh, two of the main ships used by Emanuels
- KLTT operates in Kuwait and South Africa as Al Mawashi
- RETWA is the Australian subsidiary of KLTT
- in 2003, Mr Graham Daws was Managing Director of RETWA when its licence was suspended by DAFF due to four high mortality shipments...
- during the RETWA suspension, Mr Daws was able to continue to export animals under an export licence held by Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd...a licence now cancelled with its directors charged.
Whilst the drowning of >14000 sheep from Romania is an absolute disaster that would have been avoided had shipboard live export not occurred, its aftermath is encouraging. An article from Maritime Executive indicates that there has been outrage in Romania from the producers themselves, describing the animals as "innocent souls": "If we are not able to protect animals during long distance transport, at least we have a backbone to prohibit them.” These farmers from a poor country seem to have shown far more compassion than the WA farmers (...oh yeah the Awassi was bad but live ex must go on...etc etc... and it shouldnt be banned across the northern summer just because it is a bit hot in the Middle East eg https://www.farmweekly.com.au/story/6396642/no-surprises-as-live-ex-vessel-goes-elsewhere/ amongst many others in a similar vein).
So, yes, as predicted, it appears some exporter has turned to Romania....but who knows Mr Seabrook....maybe Romanian farmers will show the compassion and animal welfare concerns that WA farmers havent....and if they dont....lets hope EU is more responsible than Australia.
WARNING GRAPHIC FOOTAGE
A live export ship with 14600 sheep to be exported sank today in the Romanian port of Midia Năvodari. The Queen Hind, a ship built in 1980 overturned on one side.
No sailors died but doubt there are any sheep left alive...
The Jawan narrowly avoided this fate leaving Australia earlier this year...and another carrier ran aground in South America (with cattle only saved due to help from an Australian veterinarian). This is one of the risks that live animals face on these ships.....especially on older ships.
So the question is....will the EU realise the unique and inherently risky nature of the trade and act?? And....as for Australia, a near miss should surely be one of the "black swans" for the industry.
At the recent LIVEXchange conference in Townsville it was all upbeat about industry's new approach to animal welfare. The gob-smackingly awful "Sheep Collective" was praised...well it was lovely to see bedding for the sheep on the ships in Freo for the invited onboard visits ...despite the fact that everyone who knows anything about live ex knows that sheep bedding is not and never will be routine.
But, one medico had an interesting take urging industry to continually look for “black swans”. In medicine and in risk management, black swans are code for “things you can’t see”, Dr Harrison explained – unexpected events whose potential to occur only becomes apparent after they have happened.
“Do you have people who have nothing to do with your industry on your board?” Dr Harrison said. “They are going to be the ones to spot black swans.”
“It has taken our industry, medicine, 30 years, but I don’t think you have 30 years...It is clear you’re changing but you’ve got to get on with it and you need to answer to independent experts.
Hmm....well they could always ask VALE. We get to see and hear a lot of hidden things.....and yeah, there are still plenty of black swans.