[Ed. Note: Also read Live Animal Export.]
By Joyce Tischler, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Founder and General Counsel
It’s hard not to like Melbourne. It’s a beautiful city, with stunning architecture and lots to do. It’s winter, but the weather is around 55 degrees and sunny—milder than our American winters and perfect for a walk.
As promised, I will continue to report on pressing animal issues here in Australia. One of the big challenges is the plight of live animals exported by ship to other countries. This is a large industry in Australia. Each year, Australia exports 4 million live sheep to the Middle East and 1/2 million live cattle to Southeast Asia. The ships used to carry the animals can fit up to 100,000, with sea voyages that last up to three weeks.
The welfare of the animals seems to be a minor concern to the shippers and there are a number of problems:
- Overcrowding and increased competition for food and water.
Stress from being handled.
- Lack of veterinary care (even though mandated by law).
- Sheep are grazing animals, accustomed to eating grass; on ship they are only given food pellets and some of the sheep will starve to death, not realizing that the pellets are food.
- Storms, bad weather, fires and the potential for rejection by the importing country, which leaves the animals stranded on the ship for even longer periods of time.
The suffering caused by live shipment is extreme and a certain percentage of the animals die before the ship reaches land; industry considers that an acceptable cost of doing business. Animals Australia has also documented cruelty and abuse in the countries receiving Australian animals and is working to stop live animal exports from Australia. Please visit Live Animal Export: Indefensible for more information and to find out how you can help.