Young Tahlia McSwain from WA would have had no idea that when she signed on with KLTT to sail with the Al Messilah in April that she would end up being unable to get home from Qatar, thanks to COVID,, and instead be shipped off to South Africa.
Denied sailing from Australia during the northern summer due to animal welfare risks, Al Messilah headed off to South Africa to transport sheep from there instead. Apparently not a thought for the sheep or for the young Aussie woman stuck onboard.
Tahlia’s podcast revealed a young Australian putting on a brave face and trying to make the best of a bad situation: lockdown onboard the Al Messilah, far from family, friends and fiancé, with uncertainty about what would happen to her.
Tahlia stated: "Australia puts a ... not a ban, but they don’t export sheep to the Middle East between the months of June and September because it is far too hot there to discharge the sheep.” She is about to find out that the northern summer ban isn't because it's too hot to discharge but because sheep die of heat stress on the ship.
KLTT (Al Mawashi) battled out the court cases, appeal after appeal, till they ran out of judges (and got an acting judge) and finally won permission to sail from South Africa into the northern hemisphere summer. 56,000 60-70kg ewes, wethers and rams, fat from prolonged feedlotting and generously covered with wool (which would not be permitted under ASEL) sailing into one of the worst months of the year.
One hopes that this company will be providing Tahlia not only with technical support but with the psychological support she might need. Months away from home, in lock down on a ship and now a likely battle with heat stress ahead.
Tahlia, if you need support, we are here and we never leak confidential information from any AAV or stockperson.