Author Topic: 2,700 cattle die on live export ship - background  (Read 1312 times)

Export News Tasmania

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2,700 cattle die on live export ship - background
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 02:15:23 PM »
2,700 Cattle Die On Board Brazilian Live Export Ship - Animals Australia Campaign Director, Lyn White, reported that 2,700 cattle have died on board the MV Gracia Del Mar, a Brazilian live export ship. She claims that ventilation problems caused the deaths of the animals during the trip from South America to Egypt. The ship was recently converted to a livestock vessel and is registered under a Panamanian flag.

The MV Gracia Del Mar is currently anchored in the Red Sea, after having been refused port in Dijbouti and Sudan. The cattle were supposed to be offloaded in Egypt, but the ship has been turned away from that port as well.

2000 cattle survived the trip and Animals Australia is working with other international groups to try to find a safe refuge for them.

“This is nothing short of an animal welfare disaster. If remaining cattle are not offloaded more of these animals will suffer appalling deaths at sea. We are appealing to authorities in Egypt to offload the remaining cattle at Al Sohkna, as was originally intended,” says Lyn White

Mechanical issues causing mass deaths on live export ships have happened before. Nine years ago, 5,000 Australian sheep died on board a transport ship as country after country refused to let them dock.  Last year, 200 sheep died aboard a live transport vessel which broke down in Port Adelaide.  Had the mechanical difficulties occurred on the open ocean, thousands of animals would have died. 67,000 sheep were aboard the ship that was headed for Qatar.

Cattle on live export ships tend to die of heat stroke and pneumonia brought on by stress. They might also be injured in rough seas and die from blood poisoning. Sheep tend to die of heat stress, failure to eat, or bacterial infections.

In a normal transport that does not experience mechanical difficulties such as the MV Gracia Del Mar has, the mortality rate  for sheep at sea is higher than cattle. On average, 0.1 per cent of cattle die and 1 per cent of sheep. A live export voyage can take as long as 35 days and ships can carry as many as 19,500 cattle or 114,000 sheep, or a combination.

It is unclear why the ports are refusing to let the ship dock.

Compassion in World Farming,  a leading farm animal welfare charity, is asking people to sign a petition on their website  which asks Egyptian authorities to take action now and allow the ship to land so that the animals can be given veterinary care or, where necessary, humanely euthanized. Such action is essential to prevent even more suffering in what has become a major animal welfare disaster.

Last year the Australian government attempted to pass a bill that would have banned live export to the world, but industry lobbyists fought back, forcing the legislation off the table. The move angered animal activists in Australia and across the globe, notably the Islamic world, which receives the biggest share of live cattle and sheep from both Australia and Brazil.

Animal activists, spurred by the weekend disaster have increased pressure on anti-live export campaigns. A group of protestors representing the Forest Rescue group illegally boarded the livestock vessel MV Ocean Shearer in Fremantle as it was loading livestock to obtain footage of animals on board. Accounts on social media sites said the activists secured 45 minutes of footage on the ship. One protestor was arrested, another injured and taken to the hospital, while a third activist is still on board.

The protest did not disrupt the loading of the vessel.

Animals Australia is encouraging people to join the conversation about banning live exports on Jenny McAllister’s Facebook page.  McAllister is Australia’s Labor National President. The conversation is taking place in the comments under the post entitled “A Policy Agenda Worth Fighting For.”

About the author: Ariel Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. She has worked in animal rescue for more than 24 years, authoring the book Born Without a Tail, a memoir of her experiences with rescued animals. She writes a column as the Cleveland Pets Examiner, and is the National Animal Books Examiner. She also maintains a personal blog about dogs: Up on the Woof, and uses her yelodoggie art to spread the joy of living with dogs.

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