The Australian government is looking at banning elderly ships being used for live export to the Middle East.
Transport minister Darren Chester has revealed the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is currently reviewing Marine Order 43, which governs the age of export ships as well as welfare conditions for animals being carried.
The review comes in the wake of another exposé into a deadly livestock shipment. The 37-year-old Al Messilah, which arrived in Doha from Australia in July last year, saw some 3,000 of the 69,322 animals it was transporting perish in the heat of the Gulf. News of the deaths only just came to light following a freedom of information request from an NGO.
Western Australia’s agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan has since sought advice from the solicitor-general as to whether state animal cruelty laws could be used against exporters in extreme cases.
Chester, the nation’s transport minister, also said that the AMSA review would look at the possibility of banning double tier vessels over fears that animals on such ships are too cramped.
Commenting on the news, veterinarian and regular Splash contributor Dr Lynn Simpson said the bans should go further.
“All livestock carriers operating from Australia have at least some enclosed decks, so all run the risk of mechanical ventilation with no mitigating strategies by ship manoeuvring,” Simpson said, adding that she felt it best if there was a blanket ban on all live export sailings during the Middle Eastern summer period.