Author Topic: Live trade boatman calls for animal welfare training for international workers  (Read 4561 times)

WA Export News

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Please note.

AQIS veterinarians DO NOT travel on ships.  

The exporter may contract a vet of his own choosing who is accredited with the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS)- (meaning he has passed a test in live export protocols) to stay on board with the animals.

The vet is paid by the exporter.

« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 12:41:10 PM by WA Export News »

WA Export News

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Live trade boatman calls for animal welfare training for international workers
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2011, 10:15:11 PM »
Live trade boatman calls for better animal welfare training for international workers.

 An experienced livestock shipper is calling for improved education of animal workers in countries buying live Australian stock.

Farm manager and experienced stockman Terry Coman says he is traumatised by the three years of working in the trade. He has been part of 13 long-haul voyages shipping Australian cattle to ports in the Middle East and China.

He left the industry frustrated that the reputation of Australian trade is being tarnished by widespread ignorance and animal cruelty.

"It is a good trade, if it is policed."

He took photographs of his concerns on many sea voyages and port visits and he also wrote reports of the trips, but he says they made no difference to operations.

"There has got to be an improvement.

"Sending over skilled workers from Australia to police it would be the way to go, and try and educate the Indonesian or anyone else that takes delivery of these cattle realise that people in Australia are horrified."

He says there was widespread abuse in the sector by untrained workers in all the Middle Eastern destinations he visited.

"It is going on today, nothing has changed."

He says cruelty is rife.

"The way they kill them over there, it is not pretty.

"I went to an abattoir in Kuwait and they just do the same thing (as the Indonesian abattoir shown on Australian TV), they tie them up, pull their legs down while they are roaring, just get into them, cut their heads off."

He was also critical of the low levels of staffing and treatment of cattle on ships leaving Australia.

Mr Coman says the stock to staff ratio is supposed to be one stockman to 1,500 cattle, but he says that was not usual.

"Accredited stockman are there for the health and welfare of the creatures, and you actually live with them."

He says it was common for him to be the only stockman on board the ship that also carried an AQIS vet from Australia.

"Every two hours you are checking, walking decks, making sure everything is comfortable."
Boat working stockman calls for international animal welfare training for livetrade workers

He says he was upset by the treatment of dairy cattle off-loaded at Kuwait.

"In the Middle East job they go to the quarantine station, they are held there for 21 days, and it is just a compound in the desert.

"The feed rations there are pretty bad and they do it tough, it's pretty hard on them, (and there is a) lack of water."

Has he observed physical cruelty toward animals?

"For sure. It is just rush, rush, rush to get them in, get the job done, and get them out."

He says untrained, poorly skilled workers can be cruel to animals through ignorance of stock work.

"You are working with day labour. We tried to teach some Bangladeshi's over there but every day you go to the quarantine station and you have got a new tribe of troops."

He says they are paid very low wages of two or three dollars a day as casual workers.

"Today they are a stockman, tomorrow they are a truck driver, the next day they are an electrician (and they have no expertise), none at all, none whatsoever.

"There is no consistency, and when you teach someone one day you expect them to be there again the next day, but he is not and you have got to teach them all again, and it is too difficult (as) there is a language barrier and they just knock them about.

"We are teaching them to slow down, and a little bit of cow sense, they don't have a clue about cow sense (as) all they have been told is to get those cows in that trade, and to do it smartly."

He says the day labourers feel they have to defend themselves from the large cattle so have weapons, gloves and masks to protect themselves.

"(They use) sticks, reo (metal rods), lumps of steel, logs, timber, anything you've got, (to) beat them up, hit them on the spines, on the legs."

He says plentiful labour means there is little incentive to build infrastructure to handle the cattle.

"It is cheap labour, so if you want to fence, get some more troops.

"We used to call them Bangla-fences as they just join hands, hold together, and make a fence."

He says this inhumane animal treatment is common.

"All the way across the Middle East."

" (I am) traumatised, demoralised (by) the stuff you see, and the stuff you do for the industry, and you think there is going to be an improvement on it, but there never is."

Mr Coman says he is still in the caring sector, now working in aged care in the NSW Bega valley

By Keva Gocher from Bega 2550

Thursday, 09/06/2011