PRESS RELEASE: FOI request reveals horrors aboard live export vessel

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On AUG 2, 2007

Heat stress, septicaemia from leg wounds, and acute pneumonia led to the deaths of 248 cattle aboard a horror journey of the MV Maysora from Australia to Israel late last year.   A further 200+ cattle died of pneumonia—or shipping fever as the Israeli vets call it—after being unloaded more than 3 weeks after their journey began.

Peak animal protection organisation Animals Australia has obtained the Government report of the journey under Freedom of Information (FOI).  The deaths on board the Maysora led to the exporters, the Jordanian-owned LSS, having their export licence suspended for two months. 

The FOI-obtained Report revealed:

  • 4657 cattle were loaded on the Maysora in Portland (12/13 Oct 06), and 3148 cattle were then loaded in Fremantle (17 Oct 06).
  • 61 cattle died before the ship reached the Israeli port of Eilat (3 Nov 06)   
  • 179 cattle died whilst they were delayed on the ship for 3 days due to ‘security and clearance procedures’ in the port of Eilat.
  • Most of those cattle that died enroute to Eilat died of septicaemia (blood poisoning) from infected leg wounds caused through prolonged sitting/lying on the abrasive flooring (on 6 of the 7 decks).  Most that died of this cause were Freisian bulls from Portland.
  • The rest of the cattle deaths have been attributed to respiratory disease—pneumonia, shipping fever (acute pneumonia generally induced by stress)—and leg/injuries infection, compounded by high temperature and humidity in the Port. 
  • The pen floors were described by the on-board veterinarian as ‘sloppy’ throughout the journey (faeces, urine, water)—adding to the risk of infection.
  • Only ‘between 30 and 40 of the cattle were euthanased’ by the onboard veterinarian—the others died in their pens of their injuries or disease.

Amongst the AQIS report’s resultant recommendations were a ban on Fresian-breed bulls being transported from southern Australia to the ME, and to provide more space for cattle on board. Despite abrasive flooring causing injuries/wounds that led to deaths by septicaemia—there is no recommendation for additional bedding.

“If such suffering and death can result from ‘world’s best practice’ as the live export industry proudly declare of their trade, and with a vet on board, then this voyage provides further irrefutable proof why this trade must end, ”  states Glenys Oogjes. Animals Australia’s Executive Director.

NB 73,000 sheep were also on the Maysora - some later unloaded in Jordan, others in Egypt - and 862 died onboard. 

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