Live Export Vet Speaks Out – What happens on board?


“Regrettably, extreme fear, unpreventable disease and injury are synonymous with ‘long hauls’ at sea carrying livestock and this is undeniably unconscionable. On a random sample voyage to the Middle East; 14.1% of the dead sheep died of starvation, 20.5% died of enteritis (Salmonellosis, Coli…bacillosis), 54.3% died from pneumonia, 1.3% died from suffocation and 2.1% died from trauma.

With due respect to some colleagues in the offices of Canberra who administer the bureaucratic affairs concerning the live export trade, there is no substitute for experience first hand. Since Australia’s merchant marine is now markedly reduced, the ships engaged in the movement of livestock are foreign flagged.

The crews are mostly foreigners and the only Australians likely to be onboard will be the Head Stockmen and the AAV’s. If the AAV’s are silenced by Confidentiality Agreements and only report what employers and administrators want to hear then this industry will be allowed to continue on for all time. The AAV system – with the veterinarian being employed by the exporter – may result in systemic failure because of the possibility of conflict of interest.

There comes a time when one has to draw a line in the sand and decide whether the incentives to continue (money, promotion, political gain or what ever) are really worth it.

The author conscientiously believes the above is a true and honest account of what typically has occurred over the years of transporting sheep and cattle from Australia to the Middle East, based on his experience. This portrayal has been given in good faith and without prejudice.”

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