“Most animals who are exported live for slaughter have their throats cut while fully conscious. Millions have died at sea. Some 37 investigations have revealed that in destination countries, many animals endure routine abuse and brutal slaughter in places where laws do not protect them from cruelty.” www.banliveexport.com
In January 2016 thirteen thousand sheep and cows were stranded onboard a live export ship, the Ocean Outback, for 12 days. The ship was due to set sail for Israel from Fremantle in Australia but had engine problems. The incident has highlighted yet again the horrors faced by animals being exported thousands of miles alive to be slaughtered in particularly inhumane conditions. In this case 3 cows and 30 sheep died before the remainder could be offloaded (read more).
In 2012 around 21,000 sheep were killed using brutal methods in Pakistan. The ship they were on was due to offload in Bahrain, however the ship was refused permission to dock after the sheep were falsely believed to be diseased. Despite being declared healthy by government officials, the sheep were kept in mud-filled pens with no access to food or water for two weeks. They were then “clubbed, stabbed callously and buried alive”.
It wasn’t the first time a tragedy such as this had been seen, with 6,000 sheep dying onboard a ship stranded in the Middle East for two months in 2003. Read more about these incidences at www.banliveexport.com.
The Australian livestock export market is the largest in the world (2.44 million sheep were exported to markets in Asia and the Middle East in 2012, reduced from 4.2 million in 2008 (source: Wikipedia), however other countries also live export animals for slaughter – often conscious slaughter, including Britain. Between 15 July 2002 and January 2004, around 200,000 lambs and sheep were exported for slaughter or further fattening abroad, mainly to France and Italy. ‘In 2011 and 2012, over 130,000 live animals were transported from ports in the South East of England. In addition, there is a substantial export trade in young calves from Northern Ireland to the continent’ (source: www.ciwf.org.uk).
Most UK live exports ship out of the Port of Ramsgate after a temporary ban on shipping live animals from the port was lifted. The ban was in place between 2012 to 2014 and came after sheep were killed in a number of incidents including the death of sheep when ‘a lorry carrying sheep destined for slaughter was stopped due to vehicle faults. The sheep were unloaded and two sheep, one with a broken leg, were put down. Another 41 severely lame sheep also had to be euthanized. Six sheep fell into water after they were loaded into an area where the floor collapsed. Four were rescued by RSPCA officers but two drowned.’ (source: www.ciwf.org.uk).
New Zealand no longer exports animals for slaughter (since 2003) however they do export animals for breeding. Exports have included cattle, sheep, horses, deer, goats and day-old chicks.
Images from Animals Australia’s live export investigation