Leaked footage sparks Australian animal welfare call from government

By Ashley Williams contact

- Last updated on GMT

2,400 out of 63,804 sheep (3.79%) died during export
2,400 out of 63,804 sheep (3.79%) died during export
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has called upon exporters to meet Australian animal welfare standards after video footage showed sheep being mistreated.

The Australian Government received information this week that animal welfare standards were not being met on export transportations that led to an investigation.

According to The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC), the video included images from August 2017 that 2,400 out of 63,804 sheep (3.79%) died during export. The video was brought to the attention of the government by Australian animal protection organisation Animals Australia.

The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council described the footage as “highly distressing​” and “unacceptable​” to the industry.

These deaths and the conditions in which they occurred are plainly unacceptable​,” said ALEC’s CEO Simon Westaway.  “We’re committed to further reform and ongoing improvement in terms of animal welfare in our AU$250 million live sheep trade​.”

As part of the investigation, the government has written to exporters reminding them of their obligations under legislation, including the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL). ASEL contains regulatory requirements exporters must comply with to ensure the health and welfare of livestock throughout export voyages.

In 2017, 12,377 sheep died in transit out of a total 1.74 million head exported from Australia – recording a mortality rate of 0.71%. The range of livestock mortalities since 2010 has been between 0.6-0.9%.

According to GlobalMeatNews’​ ‘State of the Industry’ survey, the industry needs more regulation to improve animal welfare.

Eighty-three per cent of participants agreed or strongly agreed that companies should act to improve animal welfare in livestock transportation.

Meanwhile, 76% said improvements should be made by companies for animals at the point of slaughter and 80% believed that changes needed to be made in rearing and house livestock.

Related topics: Safety & Legislation

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