The shameful Australian practice of live sheep trade.

Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 12:48 am
I personally know of very few "business practices" that involve so much avoidable cruelty to animals than Australia's live sheep trade to the Middle East. I'm by no means an expert on this subject but believe this practice is totally abhorrent to anyone who cares about the amount of abuse & cruelty that animals should receive in the name of trade. Shame on the Australian authorities for allowing this sort of thing to occur!

This weekend yet another ship was loaded with sheep in Tasmania. 40 members of Animal Liberation were there to protest the event. To their credit, this small number of protesters made enough commotion to put this issue back in the news headlines.

How can any country that considers itself civilized allow animals be treated in this way? I am not advocating that every person becomes a vegetarian. My concern is to eradicate such terrible, unnecessary cruelty.:

Australia's Live Sheep Trade

The Facts

In September 1996, nearly 70,000 sheep were abandoned at sea on the carrier Uniceb and slowly burned to death or were drowned or starved. Each year, more than 100,000 sheep die on these voyages - of disease, heat, cold and starvation. Another 150,000 die in Middle East feedlots.

The Conditions

During the 3-week journey, sheep are immobilised in an area hardly bigger than themselves. They cannot exercise - they can scarcely move. They live on pellets, they stand in their own excrement.

The Slaughter

Sheep which survive the journey and the unloading are killed by having their throats cut without pre-stunning.

The Cost

To the sheep: Long weeks of suffering, followed by an agonising death.

To the environment:

Approximately 4,000 tonnes of manure and 2-6 million litres of urine are washed into the sea each voyage. Bodies of sheep which die at sea are thrown overboard.

To the economy:

About 12,000 meatworking and associated industry jobs are lost to the Live Sheep Trade. (Until the world goes vegetarian, this is the lesser of the two evils).

On 27 March 1980, the Farid Fares caught fire and sank. The entire "cargo" of 40,605 sheep perished.

Things CAN change

In September 1995, the South African government banned the importation of live sheep. They said:
"The transportation of meat in live form is archaic and inhumane."
What can you do?

Write to The Minister for Primary Industries & Energy. Public silence permits this obscene trade to continue. Your protest helps stops it.
Sample letter to The Minister that you can print.

  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 14,548 • Replies: 165
No top replies

Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 12:53 am
Last Update: Saturday, February 11, 2006. 4:35pm (AEDT)

Police guard ship amid live export protest

Tasmanian police are monitoring the loading of 50,000 sheep for live export at Devonport after violent scuffles with protesters earlier today.

The scuffles broke out this morning as 40 protesters gathered to oppose the live export trade.

Early this morning the protesters - some from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia - used power boats to try to stop the Al Messilah from docking.

When that failed, several protesters then sat in front of trucks in an attempt to stop the sheep from being loaded onto the ship bound for the Middle East.

Twelve protesters were arrested and charged with offences ranging from trespass to obstructing police.

Inspector Adrian Shadbolt has left eight of his officers on the docks to guard the ship.

"We'll be here for the duration of the loading of the Al Messilah," he said.

Patty Mark from Animal Liberation Victoria was part of the group attempting to stop the sheep from being loaded onto the ship.

"We've been protesting this since 1979, we've been at Portland, other ports, we've seen the sheep stuffed in the trucks," he said.

"We've seen their broken legs, their broken bodies, it's extremely cruel. Australians don't want this."

The ship sails tomorrow night and will transport more than 50,000 sheep to Kuwait, in a shipment worth $2.5 million.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 01:11 am
Should be banned indeed.

It s sickening...and then, when the political games at the other end mean the poor animals spend longer on those ships.....
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 01:23 am
Remember that episode, Deb, not too long ago, when they weren't allowed to get off the ship at all? .... & were transported from port to port, in the hope that they could be off-loaded somewhere in the middle east? During appalling heat. I can barely stand to think about this, say nothing of watch the news reports. Shame on the Australian authorities for allowing this to happen!
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 01:29 am
If you're interested in adding your voice to the protest, here's a sample letter to the Minister for Primary Industries from Animal Liberation site:

The Minister for Primary Industries & Energy
Commonwealth Government
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2601

Dear Minister,

The Live Sheep Trade

Like millions of other people world-wide, I was very distressed to hear about the 70,000 sheep who burned to death at sea when the carrier Uniceb was abandoned.

It is terrible to think of the fate of these animals and the 100,000 more each year that die during that terrible 3-week journey to the Middle East.

The Chilled Carcass Trade is an available and profitable alternative and Halal slaughtering is already being done in Australia to meet special religious requirements.

For every kind of reason, I urge you to Ban Live Exports from Australia.

Yours sincerely,



Additional Comments:
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 01:35 am
Last Update: Sunday, February 12, 2006. 1:44pm (AEDT)

Union wants end to live sheep exports

The Meat Workers Union (MWU) in Tasmania is calling for an end to live sheep exports.

The Al Messilah is in Devonport loading about 50,000 sheep bound for the Middle East.

The ship arrived yesterday amid violent scuffles between animal rights protesters and police, and overnight the words "Death Ship" were painted on its hull.

Farmers say they have no choice but to send their excess stock overseas.

MWU spokesman Grant Courtney says the exports are costing local jobs.

"We've seen 1,200 of our members in Tasmania alone in the last 20 years lose their jobs," he said.

Mr Courtney says he heard a rumour the sheep in question were offered to the sole Tasmanian meat processing company late last year but were rejected.

However, Mr Courtney says the processor has refused to confirm or deny this.

"We can process the livestock to the Middle East requirements here, so I find it ridiculous that a processor would reject the animals," he said.

"If it comes down to market price or the cost of the animals, of course that's a decision between the company and their livestock agent or the farmers but it's my understanding that they were offered market price."

David Byard from the Farmers and Graziers Association says it is up to livestock agents to strike processing deals, but he believes the live shipment was chosen for commercial reasons.

"We're in a commercial enterprise, we've got to look after ourselves I guess," he said.

Mr Byard says most farmers would prefer to process locally if offered the right price.


0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 02:03 am

The total cargo (40,605 sheep) perish in a fire aboard the Farid Fares.

Disease outbreak causes the death of 2,713 sheep on the Kahleej Express.

635 sheep die in the transfer from the Kahleej Express to the A1 Shuuwaikh.

8,764 sheep perished onboard The Persia from ventilation breakdown.

15,000 sheep die from exposure in Portland feedlots while waiting loading.

Ventilation breakdown in the Mukairish Althaleth causes the death of 70 sheep each day.

15,000 sheep die of heat exhaustion on board the Fernanda F.

Many Australian shipments rejected due to claims of scabby mouth and other diseases, by Saudi Arabia . Death rates on board soared to an average of 6% as sheep waited on board ships languishing outside ports or en route to alternative ports.

One rejected ship, the Mawashi AI Gasseem was forced to stay on the water for 16 weeks before a country would accept its remaining sheep.

The "state of the art" Cormo Express left New Zealand in May 1990 and almost 10,000 sheep died en route to the Middle East due to inadequate ventilation causing heat stroke, pneumonia, other diseases and failure to eat.

At the end of the Iran/Iraq war, Australian sheep arrived in war-devastated Kuwait and some 30,000 sheep died from heat stroke and dehydration due to poor infrastructure and feedlot facilities.

Published studies show death rates in Middle East feedlots to be, on average, 3 per cent over the 3-week holding period.

Published figures show increased on-board death rates, rising to almost 3 per cent, the rise being attributed mainly due a large number of ships unloading at more than one Middle East port.

67,488 sheep died when fire broke out on board the Uniceb; 8 days elapsed before any rescue attempt was made.

The MV Becrux, on its maiden voyage boasting the ability to provide the highest standard of animal welfare, carried 60,000 sheep and 1,995 cattle from Portland Victoria to Saudi Arabia . 1,400 sheep died along with 880 cattle after the vessel met high temperatures (45 degrees) and humidity in the Arabian Gulf .

In July and August 4 shipments of sheep recorded high death rates during export to the Middle East , and a total of 15,156 sheep died during the voyage and discharge phase. Cormo Express: 1064 sheep died, Corriedale Express: 6119 sheep died, Al Shuwaikh: 5,800 sheep died, and Al Messilah: 2173 sheep died. AMSA/AFFA and AQIS are conducting 4 separate inquiries. At least one ship has been allowed to load more sheep and leave for the ME before any reports are completed, albeit with an AQIS vet on board.


0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 02:13 am
LIVE EXPORT: as case study

New Zealand researchers made detailed observations on a load of 78,533 sheep exported to Saudi Arabia. The voyage was fairly typical, taking 24 days, with an overall mortality of 2.1%. The death rate was lower on open decks (1.8%) than on decks totally enclosed in the hull (2.3%).

The main causes of death were smothering, failure to eat, pneumonia, dehydration, trauma and other causes. Deaths increased steadily as the voyage progressed with the largest number of deaths on day 24.

Troughs were filled with food and water once a day. Fresh water was in short supply towards the end of the voyage, and contained 10% salt on days 17-23, and 40% on day 24.

Only about 15% of the animals in a pen could eat and drink at any one time, so there was intense competition when the troughs were filled. Plunging behaviour was observed at this time, that is, sheep lifted their forefeet off the ground and lunged forward. The researchers described the consequences of this behaviour as follows:
" The intense competition among animals adversely affected welfare. During plunging and pushing episodes, loss of footing occurred which resulted in smothering and suffocation of some animals. Plunging and smothering also occurred during competition for other resources. On one occasion when the hold lights were suddenly extinguished, the sheep moved en masse towards other light sources, resulting in smothering. During periods of high ambient temperature and low wind speed, the sheep moved towards the ventilators. When animal handlers entered the pens, smothering sometimes occurred if the animals moved en masse away from them ".

After day 16, temperatures exceeded 26degC and reached a maximum of 34degC, with humidity of 85%. More animals began to suffer heat stress and to pant with open mouth, 28% of sheep in the enclosed decks panting on the hottest day and 15% on the open decks.

Excrement accumulated on the floor as the voyage progressed, reaching a depth of 15cm in the centre of pens, more around the outside. The ventilation was inadequate to dry out this faecal pad, leaving it wet and sticky on the enclosed decks. Where there were water spillages, there were wet, muddy patches. The researchers noted: " Some animals in muddy areas could not move without assistance ". In other words, they were stuck fast in faeces.

The picture is one of sheep suffering heat and humidity, wet and sticky floors, the smell of ammonia, and the stress of competition for food and water. And as the researchers concluded:
" Life is not over for the sheep at the end of the voyage: discharge, transport, feed lotting and slaughter present further animal welfare challenges ".

H Black, L Matthews & K Bremner, "The behaviour of male lambs transported by sea from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia", New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 1994, vol 42 (16-23)

0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 02:24 am
Conditions are much improved i believe Msolga it would be sensible to publish more up to date information instead of 10 year old propaganda


Thanks to the efforts of some well intentioned animal welfare groups conditions are much improved.

Exploding the Myths:
Facts about the Livestock Export Trade

The live export trade supplies a totally different market/customers - in addition to the already existing chilled and frozen meat market.
Our customers for livestock - want to purchase livestock and are not in the position to take chilled or frozen product, be it for religious, cultural and nationalistic preferences, or simply for lack of refrigeration and storage infrastructure.
Much of the meat product from exported live animals is never refrigerated. It is processed, transported and sold through "wet markets" (fresh meat markets), then cooked and consumed without refrigeration.

Fact: Industry's focus on, and commitment to, the lowering of mortality rates for livestock being exported is clearly demonstrated by the continual decline and improvement in rates from 5 years ago.

Actual mortality levels for 2003 were 0.11% for cattle and 0.99% for sheep.

Fact: The livestock export industry is tightly regulated by relevant Australian government departments to ensure legislated operational and animal welfare requirements are carried out. In addition, industry itself has initiated and self imposed several of it's own major regulatory programs to address animal welfare concerns and ascertain adoption of best practice.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 02:49 am
er ... your link seems to be from 2003, where a number of my posts ended up. A number of the links were timelines. Hard to get totally up to the minute material isn't it?

Fact: The livestock export industry is tightly regulated by relevant Australian government departments to ensure legislated operational and animal welfare requirements are carried out. In addition, industry itself has initiated and self imposed several of it's own major regulatory programs to address animal welfare concerns and ascertain adoption of best practice.

Can you give actual details of the "major regulatory programs" leading to improvements in the conditions of the sheep? (With all due respects, this reads like the propaganda you accuse me of posting, but from the other side.) In what ways have conditions actually improved? Could you tell me what the "best practice" is for live sheep transportation? Looked to me like a very similar deal to the past on the ABC news on Saturday: 50 000 sheep being crammed onto a ship, with weeks at sea to look forward to. So how will this trip be better for the sheep than previous ones? No, more than that, how can putting them through such a trip be described as humane treatment of the sheep?
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 04:55 am
(With all due respects, this reads like the propaganda you accuse me of posting, but from the other side.)

I thought it sounded like propoganda as well msolga.

msolga said
H Black, L Matthews & K Bremner, "The behaviour of male lambs transported by sea from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia", New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 1994, vol 42 (16-23)

your report is from 1994 12 years ago and NewZealand to boot
I note with interest there are accusations of "under reporting" of mortality rates. Wonder if Livecorp drink in the same pub as AWB

I will leave it to you to trawl the material and sites i have been able to provide here.

Even with the Cormo Express incident, 2003 saw the lowest mortality rates on record in the livestock export trade. This represents a halving of mortality rates on voyages to 0.11% from 0.34% for cattle and from 2.48% to 0.99% for sheep since 1996.


Following the Cormo Express incident on 10 October 2003 the Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon Warren Truss MP, announced a review into the livestock export industry in response to concerns about animal welfare. Members of the Review were Dr John Keniry (Chair), Dr Michael Bond, Professor Ivan Caple, Mr Lachlan Gosse and Mr Murray Rogers.
The Review examined:
• the adequacy of welfare model codes of practice;
• the adequacy of regulatory arrangements;
• the types of livestock suitable for export;
• supervision of voyages to ensure accurate reporting; and
• the factors that contributed to excess mortalities on the MV Cormo Express V93.

The Review focused on voyages to the Middle East because of the number of adverse incidents reported in that trade, but also considered exports of sheep, cattle and goats by sea to other destinations.


Keniry Report - Executive Summary

Produced 8 reccomendations

Recommendation 7
Government and industry must work cooperatively to secure the agreement of a country in the Middle East region to establish an operational quarantine holding facility by the end of December 2004:
- if such a facility is not available by that time, the livestock trade to the region should be reviewed;
- if animals exported from Australia are not unloaded within 48 hours of the ship berthing, they must be moved as quickly as possible to the quarantine facility; and
- the quarantine facility must allow for testing and analysis of animals in the shipment for final determination, access to a robust and transparent dispute resolution mechanism, and quick destruction of the animals if necessary.
The livestock export trade with Saudi Arabia must not resume until there are robust written conditions determined between the governments of Australia and Saudi Arabia which ensure that:
- Saudi Arabia or the Gulf Cooperation Council is involved at an early stage, possibly pre-embarkation, in approving the health status of the animals;
- testing and analysis of the animals in the shipment at the time of first arrival is transparent and reliable; and
- the animals can be moved to the quarantine holding facility for further determination.

On each ship carrying livestock to the Middle East:
1) There is a vet and stockmen on board to care for every sheep
2) Each sheep has food and water on demand
3) Each sheep can lie down to rest
4) The air is changed on board twice as much as on a commercial airliner
5) There are special pens for sick animals to get special care.


Live-stock Mortalities for Exports by Sea for the Reporting Period 1 January 2005 to 30 June 2005………

0.67% (2005)

0.79 % (2004)

0.99% (2003)


Video of sheep on the "Infamous" cormo express in 1993 in Eritrea where they were finally unloaded.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 05:00 am
Here's what the RSPCA (hardly a radical or militant group!) has to say about live animal exports:

Live Export

The export of live sheep, goats and cattle for slaughter has serious welfare problems arise from live export - some relate to transport conditions and others to a lack of control over what happens to animals once they reach the importing countries.

RSPCA's stated and longstanding policy is to oppose the export of live animals for slaughter. Instead, the RSPCA advocates the adoption of a 'carcass only' (meat-only) trade.

Livestock exported from Australia face a journey of up three months from the farm-gate to their overseas destination and eventual slaughter. The RSPCA has long maintained that livestock should be slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production because of the suffering associated with their transport. The trade in livestock exports from Australia, which requires the transport of millions of animals over thousands of kilometres on arduous journeys which can last for months, could not be further from this principle
Apart from the general suffering resulting from long distance transport there is a history of disasters at sea where thousands of animals have died.

Once livestock reach their port of destination, those animals that survive and are unloaded are outside of the control of Australian law. The Australian government cannot ensure the animals are slaughtered humanely. In Australia the slaughter of livestock is strictly regulated. Animals intended for slaughter must first be rendered insensible, then killed before they can regain consciousness. There is no guarantee of humane killing in some overseas destinations.

The Keniry Report into the Live Export Industry

Following the public outcry over the Cormo Express incident in August to October 2003 the federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss announced an enquiry into the live export industry headed by Dr John Keniry. The Keniry Report was released in January 2004 and is available at www.daff.gov.au/keniry

The Report contains eight recommendations on the conduct of the live export trade. Whilst the RSPCA believes that full and proper adoption and implementation of the Keniry recommendations would have seen improvement in how the trade was conducted, the recommendations were not fully adopted by the government. Regardless, the fact remains that there are inherent problems in the long distance transport of animals and animals can often suffer cruelty at their destination. The RSPCA believes the only solution to the to the cruelty inherent to live animal export for slaughter is an end to the trade.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 05:06 am

Yes, I knew it was a NZ study, but it was described as a fairly typical trip & there weren't any other similar case studies to cite. Nothing with that much detail, anyway.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 05:20 am
I spent quite a bit of time pouring over the details of the Keniry Report trying to find specific details of how conditions for sheep would be improved in the future, following 2003 & the tragic Cormo Express incident. (And got far more familiar with Warren Truss than I ever thought I would!). There did appear to be some improvements recommended, but, as the RSPCA post above indicates, the government didn't adopt all the recommendations.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 05:48 am

Thanks for the info msolga. Those poor sheep. How about that union? good job. Smile
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 06:12 am
Amigo wrote:

Thanks for the info msolga. Those poor sheep. How about that union? good job. Smile


I don't think it's right to treat any creature like that. Terribly cruel.

The abattoirs, you mean? (the "good job"?) Aghhhh! I couldn't imagine a worse job!

(& speaking of jobs, Amigo: did you get it? Hope so.)
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 06:48 am
Whoops. I just read the headline on the union thing and your first post.

I don't any reason these people can't prevent this kind of thing except that they don't care about the pain of those creatures that can't defend or speak for themselves. I f the men that do this to these sheep were at my mercy I'm afraid they wouldn't fair much better.

No job yet. I got sick. Job hunt delayed 1 week.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 07:07 am

It's all about money, of course, Amigo. And of course, farmers in Oz have had a rough time, as I'd guess US farmers have, too. But, this is really terribly cruel stuff: the long sea trip, jammed in like battery chickens almost, followed by some very cruel methods of slaughter, once they do reach their destination. There are arguments that middle eastern countries will only buy meat they've slaughtered themselves, in the correct way, for religious reasons .... that the meat must be freshly killed to be acceptable. But then you read that more & more meat is sold frozen, in super markets these days, so ...? If that's the case, then why not kill them in Oz, get it over with quickly & freeze the carcasses before exporting? <sigh> There is a quite lot of very confusing & contradictory information about this. But, I believe the bottom line is our responsibility to prevent such extreme cruelty. No living creature should have to endure that.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 07:21 am
Then the people over there will just have to pay for the humane transfer of of the sheep if it's that important to them. Why should the sheep pay for their stupid as$ religious beliefs in suffering. Do they think a just god condones this?

Have two kinds of sheep. Really exspensive live sheep and cheap frozen dead sheep. When the cost of their relgious beliefs come out of their own pocket instead of the sheep I think the'll start to change their tune.Sorry msolga I don't have any patiance for bullsh!t. There is no excuse for this. Where there is a will there is a way.

Hey. Watch the first five minutes of this and tell me what you think. I'm an activist(or don't. I shouldn't even be asking you) http://911lies.2truth.com
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 07:37 am
Amigo wrote:
Then the people over there will just have to pay for the humane transfer of of the sheep if it's that important to them. Why should the sheep pay for their stupid as$ religious beliefs in suffering. Do they think a just god condones this?

Have two kinds of sheep. Really exspensive live sheep and cheap frozen dead sheep. There is no excuse for this. Where there is a will there is a way.

The trouble is that there's a history to this situation, Amigo. Long story. But the Oz exporters seem to genuinely believe that the middle eastern countries won't accept meat that's been slaughtered elsewhere. The theory is that they'll just buy it from somewhere else. We even have halal slaughtering facilities here, but no go, apparently. But, like you, I'm totally opposed to such blatant, prolonged cruelty being imposed on any form of animal life. If anyone treated their animals like this here, they'd probably be prosecuted for animal cruelty. Why should this treatment be considered OK, then, just because the sheep are being exported?
0 Replies

Related Topics

Beached As Bro - Discussion by dadpad
Oz election thread #3 - Rudd's Labour - Discussion by msolga
Australian music - Discussion by Wilso
Oz Election Thread #6 - Abbott's LNP - Discussion by hingehead
AUstralian Philosophers - Discussion by dadpad
Australia voting system - Discussion by fbaezer
  1. Forums
  2. » The shameful Australian practice of live sheep trade.
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 12/03/2021 at 07:22:02