Calls are growing once again for Australia to suspend live animal shipments.
An animal welfare investigation is looking into the deaths of 59 out of approximately 200 cattle which died while they were being transported on the Statesman across rough seas in the Bass Strait from Tasmania to Victoria, or had to be put down on arrival.
Animals Australia communications director Lisa Chalk told the Australian Broadcast Corporation the incident was “one of the worst live shipping disasters in Australian history”.
Tasmania’s Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff commented: “This is an appalling situation. I am absolutely appalled by it.”
Authorities will look at why the ship, owned by Tasmania’s LD Shipping, departed Tasmania given the clear rough sea conditions ahead.
The Australian livestock trade has come in for plenty of criticism of late. The 2010-built Ocean Outback (pictured) vessel broke down on December 29 last year while departing Western Australia with a cargo of 13,000 livestock bound for Israel. The ship, owned by Wellard Live Exports and chartered by Otway Livestock Exports, had to return to port for repairs for a number of days during which time many animals died onboard.
[Image: ABC abc.net.au]