The ABC reports that the Department of Ag confirmed some of the several hundred cattle unloaded from the MV Bahijah at the request of the exporter on Friday had died over the weekend and that those deaths are now under investigation. Despite this and the unfolding tragedy, Australia's chief veterinary officer Beth Cookson on Sunday apparently could not provide an exact number of how many livestock had died, despite continuing to reiterate that the mortality rate was low.
1. When is it OK that a CVO is not kept up to date with all mortalities in a biosecurity operation? This information should be at their fingertips. Answer: never
2. Why did the offloaded animals die? The reported "death" of cattle deemed fit to load on Friday night is most concerning. Unless due to misadventure (rarely more than one and usually reported as "euthanased") or sudden death due to bloat (or rarely, infectious diseases such as anthrax), healthy cattle dont just die in 1-2 days. The most likely explanation given the prolonged time onboard ship is that the cattle that died were not healthy cattle when they were loaded on those trucks and exposed to further transport stress...
Any claims by the Dept that animal health and welfare are good on board when supposedly healthy animals cant survive a short trucking trip are clearly inaccurate.
Update: Sheep Central reports that WA Farmers Livestock Council president Geoff Pearson "said last Friday four of 750 cattle taken off the MV Bahijah died as a result of transport complications en route to quarantine."
VALE: transport complications or not fit to load?