Up until now, ships have had to carry food for 3 extra days. Despite this, an analysis of the IO summaries revealed numerous voyages running out of food or running low on food. This occurred especially on trips to China. VALE published this information in a peer-reviewed scientific paper (Hing et al 2021). Was it this that finally cause the department to scrutinise? Or was it the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 (a ship running out of food so forced to run a storm)?
The ASEL review notes for fodder reserves state that 63% of voyages were underestimated, and for China voyages the average underestimate was 3.9 days. Three extra days of food isn't much help for 5more than 50% of voyages!
Worryingly, the department is not insisting on a minimum voyage length but is still sticking with the exporter estimates (which reflect either incompetence or unreliability) and actually reducing the food requirement by a day. Two days or 20%, whichever is greater, won't help the China voyages (or in fact 17% of voyages by the government calculation – see below).
So we will have the best welfare standards in the world but one in six voyages will run out of food?
Have Your Say on the ASEL Review. Vets should accompany all voyages – there is still no requirement for the cattle voyages to China (average voyage time 21 days – Hing et al 2021).
NOTE: The government reserve fodder proposal "indicated that 17% of all cattle consignments to single port destinations would have had insufficient fodder to complete the voyage without rationing below ASEL minimum levels, even with the reserve fodder loaded."