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Skipper, exporter clash over lost cattle

From the Australian 7 January 2013. By Miranda Rout

CONCERN over a shipment containing pregnant cattle sent to be slaughtered in Mauritius is set to deepen with new claims there were discrepancies in the numbers of deaths reported to authorities during the voyage from Australia.


The Gillard government is investigating possible breaches of export regulations after the shipment of 2061 cattle was sent last October with some pregnant cows despite Australian authorities providing paperwork that none of the stock was in that condition.

Sixty-five of the cattle were later found dead in the Mauritian feedlot and local police are investigating the suspicious circumstances around the deaths, amid claims they were poisoned.

The inquiries are being undertaken amid a dispute between Australian exporters and Mauritian importers. This latest controversy has led to renewed questions about the $1 billion trade, given it comes just months after the brutal culling of thousands of sheep in Pakistan.

cattle ship

Documents obtained by Animals Australia show the ship's master declared to the Mauritian government there were no deaths on the voyage in "Statement of No Mortality" lodged on October 19.

But in the "Accredited Stockman's End of Voyage Report" lodged a few days later by the Australian exporter, South East Asian Livestock Services, it states there were at least 18 deaths.

The end of voyage report, also seen by The Australian, reveals two steers, one bull, three heifers and 12 cows died during the voyage.

Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White said this was not the first time there was misreporting of mortality figures.

"Not only were pregnant cattle shipped, but there is evidence to support that false declarations have been made relating to this voyage -- including by the ship's master, who declared to the Mauritian government that no cattle died during this voyage -- when at least 18 died en route," she said. Ms White also said a representative of Animals Australia visited the only abattoir in Mauritius and was shocked to discover that the traditional "roping and hoisting is the method of restraint and slaughter".

"For exporters to continue to ship animals to such appalling slaughter methods despite the public outcry over Indonesia is disgraceful," she said.

A spokesman for South East Asian Livestock Services said they did not wish to comment due to the ongoing Department of Agriculture and Fisheries investigation into the shipment except to confirm they alerted Australian authorities to the mortalities by lodging the end of voyage accredited stockman report.

"We advise that our formal 'end of voyage' report was provided to DAFF on October 22 and stated there were 18 mortalities during the voyage," he said.

"This represented a mortality rate of less than 1 per cent. The formal Australian Maritime Safety Authority report containing this figure was also provided to DAFF."

The spokesman said Mauritius was not subject to the new animal welfare requirements at the time of the shipment but new equipment that complied with international standards has since been commissioned for the abattoir.

Labor MP Kelvin Thomson is writing to Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to insist he ensure the inquiry addresses the accuracy of reporting to and by authorities.



Those who think the battles will ever end, the exposés will stop coming, the cruelty will abate, or that those of us with a moral compass will ever stop fighting for an end to this outdated, unsustainable, unreliable and immoral trade in suffering are in for a shock.


Live animal exports are Australia's shame - cruel to animals, unreliable for producers, bad for the economy, and shipping jobs offshore - not 10,000 jobs as is claimed to be produced by this trade (most of which would still be required with an expanded chilled meat export trade and domestic processing), but arguably 250,000 jobs, when taking into account abattoirs, meat packaging, yarding, feedlotting, leather tanning, leather manufacturing, meat distribution, package manufacturing, meat grading dyes, meat and bone cutting implements, organic fertilisers, casein, meat inspection officers, butcher’s supplies, freezing, works uniforms and laundry services, transport services, and retail, to name a few.

Read Farm Weekly article here.



Scandal hits live export trade as pregnant cattle are shipped

From the Australian 7 January 2013. By Miranda Rout

THE $1 billion live export trade has been hit with another animal welfare scandal, with the suspicious deaths of 65 cattle after a shipment containing pregnant cows was sent to Mauritius.

The pregnant cattle were sent last year despite Australian authorities providing paperwork that none of the stock were in that condition.

Just months after the brutal culling of thousands of sheep in Pakistan led to renewed calls to ban live exports, the Gillard government is investigating possible breaches of its regulations amid a dispute between Australian exporters and Mauritian importers.

cattle ship loadingabcnetauRESIZE

Cattle loading. Photo

The most serious issue is why government paperwork stated that none of the 2061 cattle that left Australia on October 5 were pregnant when two cows allegedly gave birth during the usual 10-day voyage, four cows were found to be pregnant when slaughtered and further testing revealed many more cattle pregnant in the feedlot.

The Certificate of Health to Accompany Animals, issued by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and seen by The Australian, states that "none of the female cattle were pregnant at the time of export", but animal welfare groups say this is false and have questioned how it could have happened.

The Australian exporter, South East Asian Livestock Services, also reported to DAFF on November 21 that a "small percentage of heifers" were found to be pregnant despite being manually pregnancy-tested before departure or spayed in accordance with regulations.

The importer was furious when it discovered the cattle were pregnant, because it is illegal in Mauritius to slaughter animals in that condition. It is not in Australia, but exporters must notify authorities of any pregnant cattle.

The importer also claimed the shipment was deliberately delayed to miss a crucial selling period and 65 cows were later found dead in the feedlot in suspicious circumstances. Local police are now investigating how the cattle died and allegations they may have been poisoned.

Animals Australia -- which was contacted by a representative of the importer at the same time the exporter reported the potential breach to DAFF -- sent a veterinary surgeon to Mauritius who confirmed cows had been pregnant "despite the official Australian government health certificate stating otherwise".

Campaign director Lyn White said Animals Australian lodged a complaint with DAFF asking why the pregnant cattle were not detected.

"Regulations require that pregnant cattle are provided with additional space and bedding," she said. "These cattle were given neither, endured very heavy seas and two poor animals even gave birth on board with their calves then killed."

She said the welfare implications for these animals were severe and completely unacceptable.

"Not only were pregnant cattle shipped . . . now there are allegations that 65 cattle have died mysteriously in the feedlot," Ms White said.

A spokesman for South East Asian Livestock Services maintained no pregnancies were recorded by the certifying vets at the time of departure. "(We) had all appropriate certification from veterinarians and vendors, verified by DAFF, prior to the vessel being loaded," he said.

A DAFF spokesman confirmed the department was investigating the matter and said it would fully co-operate with local Mauritian authorities if requested.





Beef Central don't seem to want to publish my comments anymore... I can't imagine why:

ESCAS was never introduced to safeguard the welfare of livestock - it was introduced to safeguard the industry in the event of another "Indonesia" (and boy, we sure have had them). But no need to shut down the entire cattle export industry again - just slap a fine on NACC (North Australia Cattle Company) and Perth-based ILE (International Livestock Exports) and carry on as usual.

No need for the entire sheep export industry to suffer in the case of the Pakistan massacre, or the slaughter of Australian sheep in the banned Al Rai meat market in Kuwait - just fine the companies involved and carry on.

The only strong message blanket ESCAS sends is that Australia is willing to send you animals to slaughter as you see fit, as long as you let us track them.


It's even being self-policed, and if it wasn't for a non-government funded animal advocacy organisation checking on this billion-dollar industry, I doubt if any of the horrors apart from Pakistan would have come to light.

As MP Kelvin Thomson said, "...ESCAS is an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff..."

What Australia really needs to do, is stop pushing millions of animals off the cliff every year.

Read the article here.

Posted by on in Latest Info

"DAFF takes all allegations of ESCAS breaches seriously," says a DAFF spokesperson, despite the fact that here we are at the end of 2012, and investigations into only one of five breaches OF ESCAS this year has been completed. If ESCAS is working so well, why is it so hard to confirm that Australian cattle were abused at an abattoirs in Jakarta or that sheep were slaughtered at the banned Al Rai meat market in Kuwait, and why haven't the exporters involved in those breaches plus two others in Pakistan and Indonesia (again) been penalised?

Read article here.

sheep distressed

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