VALE respect the right of anyone to have their views heard (a courtesy at odds with farmer treatment of animal welfare advocates at public hearings). However, for Farm Weekly to pick up a submission from a stockman of former years as evidence without examining it a bit more closely is poor journalism.
The former stockperson claims that he is "pretty sure you haven't heard much from someone with my background, at these meetings"...WRONG veterinarian Lynn Simpson, a veterinarian for 57 live export voyages, made a submission
Then the claim: "The pad in the footage had clearly been watered, although this provides short-term relief, in the long-term it's a disaster." WRONG. Pad watering is an absolute no-no in managing heat stress as it increases humidity and wet bulb temperature. It may have been mooted as an idea in the early 2000s but was quickly discarded. Wet pads, as per even recent peer-reviewed scientific papers by an accredited shipboard veterinarian, Dr Renee Willis, are a sign of heat stress and correlate with panting score. The wet pads on the Awassi Express were due to heat stress not due to a rubbish stockperson or vet making a mistake - this is simple physiology and has been known since the early days of Murdoch University Research (Barnes, Stockman, Beatty etc).
Then there was the claim: "On my most successful voyage I had zero mortalities." COMMENT: Parliamentary records back to 2005 show there has never been a sheep voyage to the Middle East with zero mortalities and the information in submissions should have pertained to sheep voyages. This comment, if accurate, must pertain to a short northern cattle export voyage or a very small consignment of sheep to SE Asia.
"On my worst voyage, I recorded a mortality rate of 0.8 per cent - not because of conditions onboard - but because of an aggressive and rapid spread of pneumonia." COMMENT: this mortality was rare on sheep voyages before the changes in space allowance post Awassi Express (2018) and again, suggests a cattle voyage. And yes....the maiden voyage of the Awassi in 2014 was ....you guessed it, a cattle voyage (mortality 0.18%). Of course, the question also has to be asked whether he refers to "his" consignment on the ship or the ship itself...yes they look aft inividual consignments on these ships.
Then there is the concerning comment about Draxxin: "With quick intervention by injection of the drug Draxxin, I slowed mortalities to only acute cases". COMMENT: again this pertains to cattle as Draxxin is not used in sheep. In NZ, Draxxin is a red light antimicrobial (should be highly reserved; this lines up with WHO management of critically important antimicrobials) and as such in NZ requires extra care and oversight in use, likely to be restricted soon to veterinarian use. Yet, in Australia this drug is the mainstay of the live export cattle trade....industry more important than human health!
Regarding crew numbers: "They are very observant and provide 15 more sets of eyes for a stockperson, like me." COMMENT: if the maximum crew for this stockperson was 15, then the ships must have been little bigger than rowing boats. Sheep ships would have a much larger crew than 15 (eg about 50 crew for stock on the Bader, which is listed as one of his ships). Again this comment suggests mainly experience of small cattle ships or caring for small consignments on a larger ship.
Stockperson: "More than 10 years ago, when I first got into live export...You had to be a man". COMMENT: that may have been true for stockpeople but not for the industry - Dr Lynn Simpson.... 57 voyages and definitely female.
And then the old chestnut: "Live export is still being judged for incidents that occurred many years ago." WRONG: live export is being judged for incidents that have occurred repetitively from before the 1985 Senate Select Committee Report right up to 2018 (Awassi Express) and even now (ongoing ESCAS breaches in Oman in May 2023).
Lastly: "I encourage each of you individually to travel aboard a live export ship." COMMENT: good luck with that one...took the ABC years according to Landline and cant imagine any invitation coming to VALE any time soon!
And, as a final comment, it is fascinating that Dr Lynn Simpson is dismissed out of hand by industry because her last shipment was ~10 years ago but the same industry spruiks an out-of-date stockperson who travelled on a number of vessels that are now defunct (Finola, Barkly Pearl, Bader etc) and must have mostly done cattle voyages.