Australia exports live sheep and cattle to various parts of the world, much of it to the Middle East. The animals are loaded on to ships and have to travel half way round the world in cramped and hot conditions.
This is done as it's difficult to freeze large quantities of meat for such a long time, the destination countries prefer fresh meat slaughtered without freezing involved, and in Muslim countries the animal must meet strict conditions of Halal slaughter involving facing the animal to Mecca.
The slaughter sounds barbaric in itself. When they cut the throat with a knife they're careful to not sever the spinal cord as the heart will stop beating and they want all the blood to be drained/pumped out of the meat. In other words the animals heart is still beating and it's still alive in that process. But that's another story...
Regarding the long trip over there, this is what Meat And Livestock Australia says about live exports:
Australia exports livestock by sea and air. The industry is recognised as having the world's highest animal welfare standards for livestock export. Australian live export operates under strict regulations and is committed to maintaining Australia's world leading reputation. Live exporters must be licensed by the Australian Government and livestock vessels must meet strict requirements governed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. These standards, along with strict regulation and the industry's commitment to caring for livestock on their voyages overseas, mean that over 99% of all Australian animals arrive fit and healthy at their destinations. Meat and Livestock AustraliaHowever for years this hasn't been the case. In fact the Gillard Labor gov banned live exports for a short time in 2011 after footage of severe mistreatment in Indonesian slaughter houses went on the telly across Australia on the national broadcaster the ABC. Ugh, I still remember that video, blood everywhere with cattle scared shitless, men with bare feet getting a thrill out of torturing the animals. It was disgusting.
However the conservative media went ape shit over the ban hyperventilating about lost dollars, and the then opposition coalition parties used it as a political club against Labor, who were heading for an election defeat in 2013. Live exports were restarted not long after but the controversy has remained.
Now we have a video from a whistle blower on one of the live export ships. I'll leave you to watch it below as it's indescribably bad. Needless to say there is outrage around the globe about it. You can sign an international petition here to stop this horror.
But whereas the immediate ban quelled international outrage in 2011, the absence of a ban this time may allow global anger to escalate. It is already widespread and damaging.
Horrific reports of the suffering of Australian sheep, most with videos, have appeared in the Ukraine, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan, New Zealand, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and elsewhere in the Middle East. These are all customers for Australian live sheep.
Negative reports have also appeared in France, Britain, Switzerland, Morocco, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Indonesia and elsewhere.
Of course, after the Coalition’s vicious condemnation of Labor’s 2011 temporary ban of live cattle exports, Littleproud cannot do the same. His department has, however, delayed a shipment leaving Fremantle for the Middle East until inspectors are satisfied all is well.
The Turnbull Government may well rue the fact that it can’t halt the trade if it turns out the backlash costs Australia other trade deals.
It is highly likely Littleproud’s department is advising him that while the four-week ban was a PR disaster for the Gillard Government, it probably saved the industry.
The prompt ban curtailed any nascent campaign to boycott Australian cattle. Had this not happened, boycotts of other products – both in the cattle importer nations and elsewhere – could have escalated.
And on all the evidence, despite the frenzy by the media and the Coalition parties, it did the industry no harm. Independent Australia
“Out of 125 findings of non-compliance issued against Australian exporters. Only three of these record any exporters being punished, with cattle exports to Vietnam temporarily suspended in 2016.”https://t.co/3u4CQdaZy0— BanLiveExport 🐑🐪🐄🐂 (@Ban_Live_Export) April 12, 2018
"Dr Hill said a build-up of damp manure had produced ammonia, which turned the ship into a “gas chamber”. “We saw sheep leaning out of the ship and trying to throw themselves out through the bars and frothing at the mouth and then just expiring,” https://t.co/vkE7CfxRYG pic.twitter.com/Ep4j4zQ0tq— Animals Australia (@AnimalsAus) April 15, 2018