Beef Central recently evaluated which port, Townsville or Darwin, had “bragging rights” for the most cattle exported in 2019-20. Townsville become Australia’s largest cattle export port, overtaking Darwin for the first time in a formal 12 month period. However, Darwin exported 10,132 buffalo which, if included, would bring its exports just above Townsville “which may help to fuel some ongoing debate over which port really does hold the bragging rights.”
A moment of reflection on the suffering in the last financial year shows that neither port has anything to be proud of.
July 2019: High mortality voyage 80 for cattle exported to Vietnam (1.19%). Rough seas were encountered, and the cattle were slow to take to the fodder but main cause of mortalities was BRD, risk of which had been noted by the Government Officer before loading.
August 2019: High mortality voyage 81 for buffalo exported to Vietnam (0.74%). There were broken legs, downers and rough sea conditions. The buffalo were very wild and were overstocked. The Government concluded possible overstocking of buffalo pens....IO report stated definite overstocking with welfare effects.
August 2019: Report of non-compliance with ESCAS for cattle exported to Indonesia. Animals observed outside the approved supply chain (yep a carpark!), with non-compliant handling and slaughter identified: roping slaughter tail pulling, slipping/ falling, hitting, kicking, ear pulling, leg roping, sitting on head (sound like a Bloody Business 2011? sure we improve animal welfare in importing countries....).
October 2019: Report of non-compliance with ESCAS control and traceability standards for cattle in Vietnam. Cattle were moved to facilities outside the exporter’s supply chain and have lost traceability....oops, 16 cattle just snuck out.
December 2019: Report of non-compliance with ESCAS for buffalo exported to Vietnam at an ESCAS approved abattoir. (Buffalo slaughtered in the back of trucks with abattoir staff using an electric prodder to lift the buffalo’s heads so as to reach them with the stunner etc)
April 2020: Report of non-compliance with ESCAS control standards for cattle in Vietnam. Cattle were moved to facilities outside the exporter’s supply chain.....again.
And thats only the things we know about......some reason to brag eh?