Death of cattle on live export ship reinforces the need for vets on every voyage

standards for export of livestock
Photo: petervick167 123rf

Recent events involving the death of over 100 Australian cattle onboard a live export ship travelling to Indonesia clearly demonstrates the need for veterinarians to be on board all live export ships, no matter how short the voyage.  

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) believes that when live export of animals by sea occurs, an Australian accredited veterinarian must accompany each shipment.

The AVA believes that the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) regulatory controls are deficient, as they allow exporters to apply for an exemption from having an Australian accredited veterinarian on board short haul voyages, such as the one involving the Brahman Express.

“This is not acceptable. Veterinarians must be onboard all live export voyages, irrespective of length, to protect the health and welfare of animals on the ship,” AVA president Dr Diana Barker said.

“The accompaniment of an Australian accredited veterinarian is not just important for the health and welfare of the animals on board, but also for the disease investigation to confirm the cause of death in an unusual mortality event such as this.

“It was less than two months ago that the importance of the veterinary presence was called out by numerous groups during the MV Bahijah incident demonstrating how critical it is to have veterinarians involved in all facets of live animal export.”

Veterinarians are essential in protecting Australia’s biosecurity and animal industries. The AVA has called for Government support for this essential profession in its pre budget submission. 

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