Live exports dead on arrival

Beef Cattle. More than 40,000 sheep also died in 2008, while being exported from Australia to the Middle East. Photo: Brad Smith/flickr

 

BY STEPHANIE MANKINN

The RSPCA is demanding the Australian Government release the cause of death of 263 cattle on board the MV Ocean Shearer, destined for Egypt earlier this year.

“A 1.6% mortality rate at sea is very high for cattle and the RSPCA urges the Australian Government to release the details of what happened as soon as possible,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil.

This is the first consignment of Australian animals since the live export trade ban was lifted.

“The live cattle trade with Egypt should never have been reopened,” said Ms. Neil. “While the closed loop system they will be processed in is an improvement, cattle will still face cruel death in Egypt, not only through the use of inhumane restraints, but also because they are not stunned prior to slaughter.”

It is also reported on the RSPCA website that 40,241 sheep died in 2008, while being exported from Australia to the Middle East.

The live export trade also results in thousands of workers in the meat processing industry being laid-off due to a shortage of animals.

“It’s quite confronting when you hear from people in the industry that there’s an abattoir where literally the trucks with the live animals drive almost past the abattoir to the live export port and the abattoir is struggling to keep jobs open because there are not enough animals to kill,” said RSPCA’s Scientific Officer Melina Tensen.

According to Ms. Neil, Australia’s beef exports were worth five times more to our economy than live cattle exports in 2009. “Every animal we send overseas for slaughter takes Australian jobs with it and for little economic reward,” said Ms. Neil.

“Egypt has proven it will take Australian chilled and frozen meat over live animals, so we should be working on growing our processing capacity, not increasing live exports.”

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