VALE has just finished analysing 37 voyages of Australian cattle to China using the very brief, inconsistent, incomplete and Govt edited independent observer summaries and high mortality reports available. In addition to issues with pen conditions and heat stress, 11/37 of these voyages (30%) had issues with insufficient food for the cattle and 14/37 (38%) had issues with water supply; under-reporting is a possibility given the nature of the reports.
Of concern, rough seas were noted in at least 7/37 (19%) voyages. It has been reported that the day before the Gulf Livestock 1 sunk last week, a crew member is reported to have texted 'We havent been allowed outside for 12 hours". In rough seas, crew are not allowed to leave the superstructure/ accommodation tower to pass into the animal house due to risks. This is obviously essential to protect personnel but consider this - every time this happens, for the duration of the "weather event", animals cannot be checked to ensure that food and water are adequate and that necessary treatments can be provided. They are on their own at the mercy of the weather for however long it takes.