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).