RSPCA South Australia is seeking the release of a report from Western Australian Government officials who boarded the live export vessel MV Maysora in Perth last week to inspect the condition of sheep and cattle on board.
The ship departed Fremantle on April 12 with 74,000 sheep and 8,000 cattle onboard and is now en route to Turkey, a journey that takes about three weeks.
Importantly, this shipment includes South Australian animals – the MV Maysora left Port Adelaide bound for Fremantle on April 6.
It has today been reported in Perth media that the WA Government has advised Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud of serious welfare issues affecting the animals loaded in Port Adelaide.
Incredibly, this occurred despite the industry currently being under intense scrutiny for its onboard standards of care.
“It is obvious that the live export industry has a complete disregard for our animal welfare laws and standards, and the Federal regulator appears to be doing little in response,” said RSPCA South Australia Animal Welfare Advocate Dr Rebekah Eyers.
The WA Government report allegedly details serious welfare issues affecting the animals loaded in Port Adelaide, including:
- Sheep crammed in and so overcrowded they couldn’t lie down without being trampled.
- Sheep already unable to access food and water.
- Water troughs empty and heavily contaminated with faeces.
- Sheep loose outside of pens and dead sheep already visible.
With the vessel Bader III about to load another shipment of sheep at Port Adelaide, RSPCA South Australia has major concerns for the wellbeing of those animals once outside Australian territorial waters.
The MV Maysora and the Bader III are both part of the Perth-based Livestock Shipping Services’ fleet, which has been the subject of multiple investigations by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) for breaches of Federal Government live export regulations.
Perth media have today reported that Livestock Shipping Services initially refused to allow officials from the WA Department of Agriculture to board the MV Maysora, forcing the Department to seek a warrant granting them access.
The department is now determining whether the conditions on board breached WA’s animal welfare laws.
“Once again we appear to have clear evidence that this industry is incapable of operating with any remotely acceptable level of humane treatment of animals,” Dr Eyers said.
“There is no economic justification for the continuation of this trade. Livestock exports have been in decline for the past 20 years, during which time the lost income has readily been offset by increases in chilled meat sales.
“Live sheep export is an industry that is simply cruel and unnecessary, and now is the time to strategically bring it to a close, once and for all.”