Author Topic: Profits ahead of animal health and welfare: Vet involved in 57 live export trips  (Read 1754 times)

Export News Tasmania

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Vet pans live export practices.

 A veterinarian who spent more than a decade working on live export ships has accused her former employers of putting profits ahead of animal health in the latest damaging blow for the industry.

Cattle are loaded on to Wellard Rural Exports' new ship the Ocean Swagman.The West Australian Cattle are loaded on to Wellard Rural Exports' new ship the Ocean Swagman.

Lynn Simpson listed a host of examples of sheep and cattle being smothered and injured in overstocked and dirty pens on long-haul voyages from Australia.

Her submission to a review into Australian standards for the export of livestock also includes disturbing onboard pictures of injuries, overcrowding and cattle heavily coated in faecal matter.

Dr Simpson was employed by exporters as the onboard vet on 57 voyages from 2001 after graduating from Murdoch University. She estimates 70 per cent of the voyages left from WA ports.

Dr Simpson worked for all major exporters but has not named any of her former employers in her 44-page submission, which makes a range of recommendations on improving animal welfare.

"It should be appreciated that these voyages are not all short and clean as depicted by industry and their public relations machine," she said. "Export can be done in a sanitary manner, however at this point in time it is being done primarily to commercial advantage and not in general prioritising the wellbeing and health of the animals loaded onto vessels.

"Some animals are held on decks for as long as 40 days, living on concrete/steel/bituminised, hard decking. Animals are not built to cope well in these environments."

Dr Simpson has worked as a consultant for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for the past eight months and is  to join its staff on Monday. In addition to her submission, she is working for the secretariat attached to the review of livestock export standards.

Australian Live Exporters Council chief executive Alison Penfold said  changes to the standards should not be based on emotion or philosophical opposition to the live export trade.

"Changes to the standards must be clear, essential and verifiable and based on sound science and  data," Ms Penfold said. "One submission from one onboard vet, regardless of her experience, does not of itself meet these requirements but like all submissions, the matters she raises will be considered by the review participants.

"We must be very careful not to confuse issues of compliance - essentially raised by Lynn Simpson in her submission - with systemic failures of the standards."

Lobby group Vets Against Live Export said Dr Simpson's revelations highlighted the need for independent veterinarians on live  export ships.

"The current practice of exporters employing veterinarians ensures that this poor animal welfare has been and will continue to be  unreported," VALE spokesperson Sue Foster said.

"A new perspective emerging from Dr Simpson's report is that too little space is given to animals on long live export voyages. We have long suspected this was the case, but this is the first time an  onboard veterinarian has expressed this view."

Brad Thompson, The West Australian
March 15, 2013


http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/a/-/wa/16372080/vet-pans-live-export-practices/
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 09:22:26 PM by WA Export News »