Animals Australia footage of sheep aboard a live export vessel shows conditions that are deplorable and unacceptable.
The law that regulates the export of livestock includes strict requirements to ensure the health and welfare of animals. It is the responsibility of each exporter to ensure it meets those obligations.
While the department is assessing this information, it is taking immediate action to add an independent department veterinarian to an upcoming voyage to the Middle East.
This vet will monitor and record the health and welfare of all animals on board, send back daily reports and images and will also be able to issue directions on the vessel to ensure the welfare of the sheep.
In addition to this measure, the department is moving to settle additional specific conditions on a forthcoming voyage to the Middle East to ensure that the health and welfare outcomes required under law are met, including:
- Adding an additional accredited stockman on top of the exporter’s normal practice of two accredited stockmen.
- Improved ventilation equipment on the vessel.
- Ensuring that decks are maintained to deliver animal health and welfare.
- Animal welfare, feed, water and bedding inspected and recorded four times each day, including by the independent department vet, and a daily report with images of conditions provided to the department.
- Reduced stocking density by 17.5 per cent.
- Requiring the first port of discharge to be Kuwait when traveling to multiple ports in the Middle East, providing greater space for the remaining livestock as they head towards higher humidity ports.
Conditions will be designed to ensure the health and welfare of sheep on this voyage while longer term measures are developed for the industry.
The department has a national hotline available to the public in response to this incident - phone 1800 234 002 (8 am – 8 pm).