Outrage as 3,000 animals die on livestock shipment to Doha

A senior Australian politician has blasted livestock exporters and demanded more stringent penalties for those found to be failing to follow regulations.

Western Australia’s agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan was speaking 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 has only just come to light following a freedom of information request from an NGO.

MacTiernan said she will ask Western Australia’s solicitor-general whether state animal cruelty laws could be used to prosecute local live exporters.

“What is quite clear is that we have a system that is not working,” she said. “No matter how horrific the situation is for the animals, there is very little penalty for companies.”

Commenting on the news, veterinarian and regular Splash contributor Dr Lynn Simpson suggested livestock shipments should be banned during the very hot Gulf summer months.

“These factors indicate that the current Australian standards for exporting livestock do not adequately protect livestock from harm or death, especially from heat stress during the Middle Eastern summers. As such exports to and through the Middle Eastern region should not be permitted during the northern summer on animal welfare grounds,” Simpson told Splash today.

Last month, the Australian Government announced it will establish a skills-based technical committee to oversee a review of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL).

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Once again, as we have seen repeatedly and frequently, ship owners simply do not care about the welfare or death of animals onboard these ships. Similarly, they do not care either, for the humans that are aboard. Splash247 has done an excellent job of shining the light on owners that abandon their crews without pay, food, water, & fuel. So why would any of us expect these same people, your typical flag of convenience ship operator, to care about animals in the sweltering heat of a cargo hold that is ventilated by fans simply blowing hot air around an already hot steel plated room down below?? These kinds of operators will continue to operate status quo until there is a financial penalty that is a risk greater than the profit that is to be earned from the carriage of animals. It’s actually quite a simple concept. Further, the entire industry, starting with IMO, should start a movement to include all associated parties with the movements of these types of operators and owners, that creates an environment where ALL PARTIES SUFFER A FINANCIAL PENALTY. This would include P&I Clubs that choose to willingly cover these ships. The flag states that allow these ships to operate under their flag. The port state control inspectors that see what is actually happening onboard (or do they??).The international banks that manage the exchange of monies between the shipowner, cargo owner(s), ship operator and everyone connected with the ship. Even vendors that supply bunker fuel and food to ships that operate in this fashion, should all be put on notice that providing a means to operate around the world, under the radar, has a risk that is NOT worth taking their business. There will always some individuals that are willing to accept the risk, provided the charterer is willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money. But we can minimize these numbers and slow these types of operators down. Only if the entire industry cooperates with each other and makes a concerted effort to rid the maritime industry of these types of shipowners, those who don’t care about anything or anyone other than fattening their own personal bank accounts. And doing it at the expense of other humans or animals in general.

  2. I’m confused – previous articles bearing quotes from Dr Lynn Simpson have been littered with poorly-spelled comments claiming Dr Simpson is a fantasist / snowflake inflating claims about animal welfare to the detriment of proud shipowners.

    Are we now to believe that those previous vitriolic commenters were wrong?

  3. Exporting live animals is a cruel business. Carriers have no regard for the welfare of the animals. The practice should be banned.
    Why is it necessary to export animals in the first place. Surely it’s better to allow countries to farm their own animals not import them.
    This industry is becoming more cruel and heartless every day. It’s all about the money.
    Stop this industry now.

Back to top button