Australian cattle die at sea
Australia's first cattle shipment to Egypt in four years has met with disaster, with the death of more than 260 cattle at sea. An investigation has been launched into the deaths, which occured on board one of the live export industry's flagship vessels.
The RSPCA says this latest incident shows that live animals will never be safe at sea, even on prized vessels like the ship involved in this incident, the much touted MV Ocean Shearer.
Advice from the Australian Government is that the shipment recorded a mortality rate of 1.6% (263 cattle), which is considered to be a reportable incident requiring further investigation.
That is a very high mortality rate for cattle and while details are still vague, what is clear is that something major has occured at sea to cause the deaths of so many animals.
The live cattle trade with Egypt should never have been reopened. It was suspended in 2006 after the Australian media exposed evidence of the brutal treatment of cattle there. While the closed loop system they will be processed in now is an improvement, cattle in Egypt will still face a cruel death, through the use of inhumane restraints and slaughter without stunning.
What's most absurd is that these animals are part of a trade that causes unnecessary stress and suffering while delivering little economic returns, around one fifth of what beef exports do.
Egypt has proven it will take Australian chilled and frozen meat over live animals so we should be growing our meat processing capacity and supporting Australian jobs not increasing live exports.