- RSPCA calls for the release of footage captured on-board the troubled MV Maysora before it departed Fremantle last week
- MV Al Messilah, owned by the controversial Emanuel Exports, arrives in Fremantle while Awassi Express still delayed after failing inspection
- The mistreatment of sheep at an Australian Government approved abattoir in Qatar reinforces that regulation of the live export industry is inadequate
RSPCA Australia has called for the immediate public release of unedited footage taken of conditions on-board the MV Maysora last week.
The RSPCA understands WAFF President Tony York and PGA President Tony Seabrook were part of a group on-board the Maysora that filmed conditions as the vessel was loading, and before it departed early last Thursday morning.
RSPCA Australia Chief Scientist and Strategy Officer Dr Bidda Jones said, “Given the industry’s claims of improved transparency, there should be no reason not to release that raw and unedited footage immediately,”
“If WAFF and PGA believe those conditions will meet public expectations, then let’s put it to the test,
“Remembering this is just the start of the journey, before the overcrowding, heat and humidity cause conditions to deteriorate over the 3-4 week voyage,” said Dr Jones.
In response to images provided to the Federal Government by a whistle-blower, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has placed a departmental observer on the Maysora.
“The RSPCA is also calling for the release of the images, footage and notes being collected daily by the observer, to show how conditions change throughout the journey,” said Dr Jones.
Next Emanuel Export ship arrives, preparing to load.
The call comes as the MV Al Messilah arrives in Fremantle – it is the first ship operated by controversial exporter Emanuel Exports to arrive into the port since footage of horrific conditions aboard the Awassi Express was released last week.
The Al Messilah has its own shameful history with more than 3,000 sheep perishing from heat stress during a 2016 voyage to the Middle East, and over 61,000 sheep stranded on-board the ship in 2011 at Adelaide port before being unloaded and reloaded onto another vessel and exported to the Middle East.
In 2006, 1683 sheep died due to heat stress and failure to eat, exacerbated by pink eye and other problems.
The Awassi Express remains in Fremantle after failing an Australian Maritime Safety Authority inspection.
Qatar abattoir suspended over new evidence.
The destination for any live sheep from Australia is now in question, after even more damning evidence was released this week showing violent animal abuse at a major ESCAS-approved abattoir in Qatar.
Video evidence released so far show terrified sheep desperately trying to escape workers, who are hitting them with large sticks and violently picking up and throwing them around.
According to the Federal Agriculture Department’s own release, “The allegations include apparent on-selling of sheep to private buyers from the approved supply chain, and mishandling of sheep at an ESCAS approved abattoir in Qatar” and “this means no further Australian sheep can be transported to or slaughtered at this abattoir.”
According to Livecorp, Qatar is the second largest market for Australian sheep, taking 640,000 head (32.8% of exported sheep) – almost all of which would have been sent to this abattoir.
“Once again, this shows why farmers can’t rely on live exports,” said Dr Bidda Jones.
“Trying to regulate this cruel trade is impossible - there’s always another disaster just around the corner,
“While we’ve seen far too much footage previously of appalling practices in the country of destination, it’s only now that we have proof of how gruesome on-board conditions under Australian standards are,
“Until now, farmers have had plausible deniability, based on the live export industry’s false assurances and marketing machine,”
“But from this point on, no Australia farmer can say they didn’t know how their animals were ending up,” said Dr Jones.
“It’s time for farmers to make a moral decision on how they allow the animals they’ve raised to be treated,” she said.