Thousands of WA sheep die during export

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16 Jan 2019

Revelations that thousands of sheep died while being exported from Western Australia to the Middle East has been described by activists as the worst live export disaster in recent history.


About 4000 sheep were exported by Livestock Shipping Services (LLS) on the Bader III five months ago, but details about their deaths from severe heat stress are only now being publicly revealed.

Federal authorities are already investigating LLS for breaches of live export regulations in Jordan and Gaza, and is now also investigating the August incident.

It is understood the same ship was back in Fremantle last weekend loading more animals in 44-degree heat.

The revelations have again prompted calls for an overhaul of the live animal export trade.

Animals Australia labelled the incident “the worst live export shipboard disaster in recent history”.

“The suffering of these animals is too horrific even to imagine,” Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White said.

“In these temperatures, the ship would have turned into an oven, with these thousands of individual sheep literally baking alive.”

Animals Australia said the risks of lengthy sea voyages for animals were well known, with almost 20,000 sheep dying onboard every year.

Greens spokeswoman Lynn MacLaren said Australia’s live export trade had repeatedly proven to be ineffective in delivering all sheep and cattle to a humane death once they left Australia.

“Not only is the system not working, but live export stakeholders are scrambling to keep the system’s failings under wraps,” she said.

“The Australian public should be outraged that this horrific incident was hidden in the weeks leading up to the federal election.”

The Department of Agriculture is expected to release details of the incident later on Thursday.

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