VALE continues its fact check on the ABC Landline footage of a voyage on the Al Messilah
1. The stockperson stated that live export was necessary as "these countries need to be fed". Kuwait ranks about 36th on the world wealth list, just behind NZ on 35. They have supermarkets stocking Australian sheep meat. If their population needs to be fed, they can import more meat.
2. Worryingly, for this very short voyage, many sheep were reported to be receiving antibiotics. In Australia, to ensure no antimicrobial residues present (ie to protect human health), these animals would have to have a minimum of 28 days withholding depending on the antibiotics. Yet these sheep do not have individual identification so can be slaughtered immediately after unloading as opposed to Australian meat exports which have strict residue compliance. So, we provide them with some protein and who cares if they get antimicrobial resistance or die of an allergic reaction...all of which can be avoided with exported sheepmeat.
It would have been prudent for the reporter to raise questions about the necessity of live sheep for "protein" in a rich country like Kuwait and also to consider the residues. ABC should have posed the question "Is it really better to have antibiotic laden meat from Australian live sheep 'feeding these countries' vs antibiotic free Australian sheepmeat"? And, "Is there any possibility of reputational damage to our considerably more profitable, antibiotic free export meat trade?