Splash livestock expert Dr Lynn Simpson is disappointed with changes made to the animal export industry in Australia this week. She calls for an end to the trade.
Sheep die every day at sea. They shouldn’t be there.
There is a clear trend that trying to deliver sheep by sea on ships, let alone through hot, humid weather is a recipe for death and disaster. The Middle Eastern summer is the key ingredient of predictable welfare disasters.
The science is clear.
The trends calculated and graphed, and likely still understated due to poor, limited and non-transparent reporting.
So why is Australia’s minister of agriculture experiencing such resistance from a handful of rich businessmen over the continual and predictable deaths of sheep on every loaded voyage.
I defy anyone to find me a loaded long haul voyage with no sheep deaths.
Why should any animal have to predictably suffer and die because of a handful of selfish, wealthy exporters?
The answer: greed, insecurity and an inability to give a damn; that’s why.
The global public is in an uproar over the animal suffering with this out of date trade. Enough is enough, the people in support of the trade are living in a moral and ethical vacuum.
Stop bringing the general shipping industry into disrepute through your callous greed.
We live in a more enlightened time since decades ago when the live export trade began. However, since 1985 the trade has been scientifically, objectively and subjectively declared incompatible with reasonable, let alone good animal welfare.
I watched animals suffer and die for 57 voyages. The spectrum of their suffering differed, but the true death count has never been declared. It will likely never see the light of day. Like so many animals who died below the water line on a ship in the middle of an ocean.
Personally I had to drag, kill, dismember and throw animals to the sea. There wasn’t a day that you thought this trade represented the right treatment for the animals. Yet they needed medical, transparent reporting and care… so I sailed.
The refrigeration argument, especially in the Middle East, is bullshit. I’ve yet to find anywhere in the Middle East where I couldn’t find a refrigerated Liptons iced tea, the drink I relate with the Middle East still. It didn’t matter how ‘middle of nowhere’ a desert stand I have stopped at.
The religious argument: according to the Quoran, animals who have been forced to stand in their own sewerage are not Halal, let alone an animal that has had to suffer as these ones do.
I’m sick to the teeth of hearing this ‘clinging to a cliff edge’ rhetoric from the live export industry. It’s all sensationalised, propaganda to influence the less informed and keep a few people in well paying jobs.
The industry claims to be providing food security. Yet Australia’s meat industry is around ten times the size of the live industry. The economics of sending live animals requiring tending and headspace versus chilled and frozen boxed meat cannot be in favor of the live trade… or else why would the boxed meat trade be so much bigger?
I no longer have any faith that the exporters or the department of agriculture in general give a toss. I know first hand that the department of agriculture doesn’t know what its doing and has no place even trying to pretend. What I hope occurs now is that our agriculture minister, David Littleproud, who has acknowledged that he cannot trust his own department has launched an investigation into their own lack of efficacy, and does something to improve it.
He has hired an ‘independent’ veterinarian to do a short sharp revive of the trade. And that is barely warranted, as the science is clear. The trade is an animal welfare travesty.
I’ve been asked repeatedly if I think I should be the person to do the review, and not my ex colleague. Another live export vet who has done around 65 voyages from what I hear. My answer. No. I shouldn’t have been asked. But neither should Mike McCarthy.
We are simply too conditioned to the trade and the subtle suffering that we have been accustomed to deal with for decades.
I don’t envy him this task one bit. He is a sound scientist, but cannot humanly be conflicted by the level of conditioning he has been exposed to. I would be the same.
This trade doesn’t need a review with ‘fresh eyes’ either. The public and political outrage has completed that comprehensively.
It needs to be transitioned out of business as soon as possible.
What many people do not understand with the sheep trade from Australia.
Only about 6% of the sheep exported from Australia, are exported live. A very large percentage of the ones who survive the voyage and post voyage feed lotting are killed only to be sold under cellophane in the supermarkets. Refrigerated supermarkets. Worse still reports leak back to Australia that many a box of processed Australian meat (killed in the Middle East) is on exported to other countries such as Iran. Potentially damaging Australia’s meat export reputation and quotas.
Why torture animals with a hideous voyage first? Send them as processed meat from the get go. And if you think this ‘grey’ market trading is bad enough, it also means that the product is not differentiated in these countries as from a stressed live ship delivery, or fresh from a low stress Australian abattoir and refrigerated container or plane. This jeopardizes the much larger meat exports that Australian farmers rely on. Good on you greedy minority of farmers who knowingly export your animals, your jeopardizing the livelihood of your decent farmer friends, neighbors, relatives.
Why send our processing and by product work overseas.
We have the capacity in Australia to process that 6% of sheep in Australia, right now! If those facilities are not in the right place well that is an issue that decent farmers would rather their levy money go to correct.
The sheep trade has the highest and most predictable poor welfare and death rate.
Lets get smart and transition to processed meat now.
For Lynn’s full archive of shocking exposés into the livestock trades, click here.