Live Export Death Files

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PUBLISHED ON: 20 June 2011


Cattle, sheep and other animals suffer and die during export from Australia to overseas countries for slaughter. Here we provide the official statistics of that 'mortality' during the sea voyages to (primarily) South East Asia for cattle, and the Middle East countries for sheep and cattle, over the past several decades. Their deaths must not be forgotten.

The long haul journeys to the Middle East particularly cause stress, injuries, illnesses and disease, and tens of thousands of animals (mainly sheep) die each year. In addition to these 'routine' deaths there are inevitable 'incidents' when things go very wrong — those are documented here. Animals Australia's investigators have also documented the suffering of these animals after arrival in importing countries.

Sheep Exports

Most deaths that occur at sea are because the sheep fail to eat the pellet diet (47%), which often also contributes to enteritis (a further 26.9%). Heat stress is another prevalent factor during the Middle East summer. Other sheep suffer respiratory illness or pinkeye (leading to blindness) and die from injuries. Most sheep are not treated for their illness and are found dead in their pens during daily inspections. More sheep die after arrival, particularly during the several weeks in feedlots prior to slaughter.

Historical figures: During the last 3 decades 1981 - 2010, over 2.6 million sheep have been recorded as mortalities on ships to the Middle East.

Sheep mortalities - 2000-2010

All Voyages

2000

2001

2002

2003

Animals exported

4,553,189

6,257,120

6,069,702

4,379,920

Mortalities

61,000

78,749

75,530

43,404

Average mortality rate

1.34%

1.26%

1.24%

0.99%

All Voyages

2004

2005

2006

2007

Animals exported

3,638,413

3,651,584

4,158,671

3,768,953

Mortalities

28,005

35,534

37,348

37,409

Average mortality rate

0.77%

0.97%

0.89%

0.99%

All Voyages

2008

2009

2010


Animals exported

4,584,756

3,578,182

3,001,976


Mortalities

40,241

32,117

26,825


Average mortality rate

0.88%

0.90%

0.89%


Ref: http://www.daff.gov.au/animal-plant-health/welfare/export-trade/mortalities

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Cattle Exports

Most cattle exported for slaughter go to SE Asian countries, primarily (59% in 2010) to Indonesia. Others go to the Middle East, including to Egypt, Israel and, in recent years, to Libya and Turkey. Deaths are low on the short voyages to SE Asia, but on the long haul voyages cattle die of pneumonia, injuries and heat stress. Cattle die on long haul voyages to the Middle East at around 5-6 times the rate as those on voyages to SE Asia. In addition to on-board deaths, cattle may continue to sicken and die in feedlots in importing countries when respiratory or other illnesses have occurred during the voyage (see more).

Cattle mortalities on ships

Historical figures: Mortality statistics for cattle are only available from 1995 (the trade was relatively small prior to that time). In the period from 1995 - 2010 a total of 20,164 cattle were reported dead on ships.

All Voyages

2000

2001

2002

2003

Animals exported

752,381

767,348

953,754

731,703

Mortalities

1,435

1,425

2,219

705

Average Mortality Rate

0.19%

0.19%

0.23%

0.10%

All Voyages

2004

2005

2006

2007

Animals exported

654,419

547,356

623,052

712,320

Mortalities

774

769

1,088

747

Average Mortality Rate

0.12%

0.14%

0.175%

0.10%

All Voyages

2008

2009

2010


Animals exported

983,653

939,722

848,265


Mortalities

1,131

932

1,192


Average Mortality Rate

0.11%

0.10%

0.14%


Ref: http://www.daff.gov.au/animal-plant-health/welfare/export-trade/mortalities

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We can count the dead, but no-one can measure the suffering of those animals who endure such long trips only to be brutally handled and slaughtered without pre-stunning in importing countries.


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