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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News March 12, 2013, 06:37:41 PM

: Vets attack live ex ships 12.03.2013
: WA Export News March 12, 2013, 06:37:41 PM
ANTI-live export lobby group Vets Against Live Export have released a media statement this morning claiming recent reports of cruel treatment of Australian animals overseas have deflected attention away from conditions aboard live export ships.   

The lobby group says Dr Lynn Simpson, who has been an official onboard veterinarian for 57 live export voyages, recently made a damning submission to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) ( about conditions on the ships.

Dr Simpson has described in graphic detail the suffering of animals resulting from exporters seemingly ignoring the law, the media statement reads. 

The statement says Dr Simpson "documented cattle that exceeded the allowed weight and consequently sustained debilitating leg injuries requiring euthanasia" and described animals being loaded with conditions listed as specific rejection criteria. 

She also reported that animals were often deprived of water during the last stage of the voyage (which could last for several days), including under conditions of extreme heat and humidity in the Middle East when the animals were already chronically fatigued.

"The live export law is designed to ensure that animals do not give birth onboard ship," the statement says, "however, Dr Simpson reported that significant numbers of animals give birth while on the ship. In one case, about 100 lambs were born on a single voyage."

Dr Sue Foster, spokesperson for Vets Against Live Export (VALE), said in the statement that her organisation had noted that onboard  births have been described in many recent voyage reports by DAFF.
"This is a gross breach of the standards," Dr 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."

Dr Simpson's report notes that the space allocated is too small for animals to rest properly, and that animals which do lie down are often trampled or smothered.
Other problems noted included: These conditions are extremely painful. Animals will be reluctant to stand but unable to lie down because of the limited space.

"Anybody allowing these lesions to occur as a matter of routine in Australia would be prosecuted," Dr Foster said.

The statement says there are "striking" photographs taken by Dr Simpson on her voyages show animals heavily coated in faeces, animals lying in slurry and 'waterfalls' of faeces coming from upper decks onto lower decks where animals are housed. 
"This unique report once again underlines the absolute need for independent veterinarians on live export ships," Dr Foster said.

"The current practice of exporters employing veterinarians ensures that this poor animal welfare has been and will continue to be unreported.

"The report also illustrates the inadequacy of the regulatory system that has been in place for 
nearly a decade. DAFF has failed to prevent this cruelty. We repeat our call for a completely independent regulator of this trade."

Dr Simpson's report is available on the DAFF website as a PDF ( (