The Cormo Express and the Saudi Trade
(Cormo Express renamed Merino Express - see A Disaster by any other name)
Brief Saudi shipment history:
In 1991 the then Government and industry suffered a major embarrassment over the attempted resumption of live exports to Saudi Arabia .
The trade was halted after 13 shipments were rejected due to the poor condition of arriving sheep. On board death rates tripled during the delays. In 1990 The Mawashi Al-Gasseem was forced to stay on the water for almost 4 MONTHS before a country could be found to accept the sheep.
When the trade was halted, the Government stated that exports should only be allowed to resume after strict veterinary and quarantine protocols had been established between our respective governments to safeguard the condition of the sheep and to ensure that future shipments would not be rejected.
Yet on 21-03-1995 the Federal Primary Industries Minister Senator Bob Collins, announced the resumption of exports despite the fact that no such protocols had been established.
After 1999, verbal protocols were apparently put in place to ensure that no further disruption to the shipping of live animals between Saudi Arabia and Australia would occur! BUT it happened AGAIN, mid-late AUGUST 2003, AND ENTIRE SHIPMENT OF NEARLY 57,000 SHEEP WERE REJECTED.
If the trade had reached former levels approximately 75,000 additional sheep would have died at sea each year, or over 200 a day, and another 3 million would have been brutally slaughtered without pre stunning.
October 25 2003
Australian public deceived as the Aust Govt finalises a secret deal..
While Australians discussed and debated the politics of the sheep coming back to Australian land, the Government had done a secret deal to send the sheep to Eritrea .
The ship was thought to be returning back to Australia but was in fact headed toward The African Port of Massawa. By the time the story had broken the deal had been struck, the ship had berthed and the offloading began.
The Howard Government has paid $10 million of taxpayers money to Eritrea along with 3000 tonnes of fodder (worth an additional $1 million), a payment for the country to take the remaining animals aboard the Cormo Express -"ship of death".
We understand approximately 5500 sheep have died in appalling conditions however real numbers may never be released.
Warren Truss, Minister for Agriculture said..
"We make no apologies for the fact that the negotiations have been undertaken largely in secret"
What is the real cost of this debacle to the taxpayer?
How long has the taxpayer of Australia been supporting this appalling trade? A trade which sees the main beneficiaries the EXPORTERS getting wealthier.
A trade which sees thousands of animals suffer and die on these death ships. Those who survive face a painful slow death by cruel and inhumane religious slaughter methods.
The Cormo Express is yet ANOTHER example of appalling mismanagement by the industry and Government with an eventual cost to the country of $10 million.
How much of that $10 million will the taxpayer fund?
Sheep of Fools article in The Bulletin Newspaper