Around 3,000 sheep have died of hunger and thirst after a shipment from Sudan was rejected by Saudi Arabia due to compromised quarantine procedures.History repeating itself.....
Over the years, more than 10 Australian live export shipments have also been rejected with catastrophic animal welfare outcomes. The 2003 Cormo Express disaster was one of the worst: 58,000 sheep rejected because Saudi Arabia alleged there was scabby mouth cases onboard. The Govt had to buy the sheep (with taxpayer money) and then frantically approach over 30 nations to take the animals. Meanwhile, sheep suffered and died, with the survivors eventually unloaded in Eritrea 80 days later. 6,000 sheep died, and the Govt paid Eritrea $1 million (more taxpayer money) to take the survivors.
After the Cormo Express, the Govt set up MOUs with importing countries to ensure animals would be unloaded regardless of disputes. The MOUs failed. In 2012, Bahrain rejected 22,000 sheep on board the Ocean Drover, refusing to unload the animals despite the MOU. After another scramble to find a country to accept them, the sheep were shipped to Pakistan with 22000 sheep escaping ESCAS control and being brutally slaughtered
Saudi Arabia , the repeat shipment rejection offender (rejecting 11 Australian shipments in 1989-1990 alone), also rejected ESCAS but only a few weeks ago, ALEC said work was underway between the Australian and Saudi Arabian governments to resume live export, and he hoped a “positive” decision will be announced in the next few months. Are we about to undertake a new regulatory experiment even though Australia's boxed meat trade with this unpredictable importing nation is now worth about the same as the Australian live sheep export trade?
There is no regulatory system that would ensure acceptable animal welfare outcomes once animals have left our shores, and there's no justification for continuing to ignore public opinion: A majority (76%) of submissions made to the Keniry review in 2003 expressed views opposing live export, and a 2018 RSPCA poll indicated around 75 percent of Australians are opposed to the trade.
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