17 August 2011
The RSPCA is demanding the immediate offloading of the 67,000 sheep stranded on the livestock vessel MV Al Messilah at the Adelaide Port.
“The fact that the master of the vessel has denied the RSPCA access is a matter of deep concern,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil.
“If these sheep are coping as well as they suggest, why wouldn’t they allow this to be independently verified?”
“Even if this ship was to depart today, these sheep face nearly a month on this vessel heading into the extremes of the Middle East summer. Both the exporter and government know that the longer the voyage the higher the deaths and suffering. It would be unconscionable to now allow this shipment to leave.”
The Federal Department of Agriculture has confirmed that offloading the sheep and processing them in Australia is an option and the RSPCA believes it should be the only option on the table.
“These sheep have already been subjected to an unacceptable eight day ordeal. The only responsible decision is to unload them today. At least if these animals are killed here they won’t face the horrors of being slaughtered while fully conscious in the Middle East.
“Clearly this is a further PR disaster for the live export industry, at the worst possible time, with legislation being voted on in parliament tomorrow that if supported will wind up the live export trade.
“But if this shipment departs and mass deaths occur as a result, the public will have absolute confirmation of the heartless nature of this industry.”
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