Live export, Dead animals, and Maldives
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Maldives Department of Public Health cautions on carcasses washed ashore on some islands
English Haveeru report
Tuesday, 27 August 2002
Malé, Aug 13 (Haveeru News Service)

The Maldives Department of Public Health has called for active measures to be taken to dispose of the carcasses of cows and goats that are washing ashore on the beaches of some islands.

'There is a possibility of contracting dangerous illnesses from the decaying bodies of the animals, unless strict precautionary steps are not taken,' Assistant Director General Ibrahim Shaheem warned.

Authorities assume that the spread of cholera in Maldives in the late 1970s was due to contracting the disease from such a carcass that was washed ashore.

'Carcasses may carry any kind of bacteria. We do not even know the cause of these animals' deaths. Hence, we have to take precautions when disposing of the carcasses,' Shaheem said. The carcasses are being buried in deep holes filled with chlorine.

'We have asked all health centers in the islands to carry out these procedures when destroying the carcasses,' Shaheem said.


Live trade to continue despite latest mass deaths
ABC report
3 September 2002

Australia's live export of animals seems likely to continue despite a second incident of mass stock deaths aboard a ship to the Middle East.

More than 14,000 sheep have perished on four separate vessels from Western Australia and Victoria.

It is believed the temperature difference between the Australian winter and a northern hemisphere summer is the cause, and the incident follows the deaths of several hundred cattle recently under similar circumstances.

The trade continues amid animal welfare calls for it to be banned.

Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss says the stock deaths are unacceptable and has ordered an investigation.

Acting Shadow Minister Joel Fitzgibbon shares Mr Truss's concerns, but says he has seen nothing that would warrant banning the live trade, given the adverse seasonal conditions many farmers face.


The Australian Agricultural Company dumps exporter after cattle deaths
Australian Financial Review
22 July 2002 (page 6)

The Australian Agricultural Company has blacklisted Wellard Rural Exports following the deaths of more than 800 cattle on a ship bound for Saudi Arabia earlier this month. AACo's CEO Peter Holmes a Court said that Wellard had 'acted irresponsibly' and will be blacklisted until it supplies an explanation of its animal welfare practices.

Mr Holmes a Court described the Wellard's use of MV Becrux, a new ship on its maiden voyage, as 'not prudent', particularly at this time of year. Wellard's general manager Steve Meerwald said AACO's decision was "premature" and had pre-empted the findings of an investigation into the incident by the Australian Livestock Export Corporation, AQIS and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.


RSPCA says cattle deaths on export ship 'unacceptable'
by Michael Condon
A.B.C. report
2 July 2002

At least 200 cattle have died on board a ship, carrying Australian cattle into the Middle East.

The ship, the MV Becrux, is owned by Wellard Rural Exports and was carrying some 2,000 cattle and 65,000 sheep. The vessel had been custom built for the purpose of carrying live animals, and was on its maiden voyage.

The company is not commenting on the losses, but the sheer efficiency of the ship may be to blame, according to Kevin Shiell, from the body representing livestock exporters, Livecorp. He says Livecorp will conduct an investigation into the incident. 'One of the factors that could be at play here is that this vessel is probably faster than most and the voyage time from Southern Australia to the northern hemisphere summer was shorter than usual. It could have been a factor that transferred the cattle from cold weather into hot weather at a speed that they weren't able to adjust to.'

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says this latest incident has again highlighted that the new code of practice is still not working, and President Hugh Wirth has called on Minister Truss to toughen up the laws governing live cattle exports. From an Industry perspective Livecorp Chief Executive Officer Kevin Shiells said the incident is disturbing and they will investigate the reasons for the death.

RSPCA president Hugh Wirth says it appears the wrong type of cattle from cold climates were chosen for the shipment, and succumbed to the heat. He says the deaths are unacceptable. 'I believe it was foreseeable. We've already learnt a heck of a lot, not only in the beef feedlot industry but also in the live export industry - about ventilation, and about the problems of combating extremes of heat and humidity.'

Kevin Shiell: CEO, Livecorp
Dr Hugh Wirth: President, RSPCA


Ship Ahoy! Third New Vessel in Four Months - That's Market Confidence!
LiveExport media release
9 June 2002

The largest, custom built, livestock vessel ever constructed will make its maiden voyage out of Fremantle, Western Australia this week.

The US$40 million, M.V. Becrux, to be operated by Wellard Rural Exports, Fremantle, is the third new vessel in four months, commissioned specifically for the Australian livestock export industry, to enter the trade.

Constructed in Croatia, the M.V.Becrux, is a nine deck, dual purpose vessel with a carrying capacity of 70,000 sheep or 16,000 cattle, or a combination of both and will principally service Middle Eastern customers.

The vessel arrived in Fremantle port today (June 9th) where her entry into the trade was celebrated with a public viewing and "launch" dinner attended by principles of the owner company, siba ships, based in Italy, major overseas clients of their Australian export operations, Wellard Rural Exports, and national and State dignitaries.

Whilst in Fremantle, the M.V. Becrux will undergo final approvals and inspections by Australian authorities and load 3,000 tonnes of livestock fodder before setting sail for Portland, Victoria where she will load approximately 1,500 cattle and 50,000 sheep.

M.V. Becrux will return to Fremantle to load an additional 500 cattle and 10,000 sheep before sailing for Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Doha, Qatar and Muscat, Oman. The voyage is expected to take 11 days at the vessel's service speed of 20 knots.

She will also discharge up to 1,000 tonnes of fodder with the livestock, enabling importers to continue to feed the same high quality ration as fed during pre-embarkation (in Australia) and sea passage.

During the voyage, livestock will consume 100 tonnes of fodder daily and 420 tonnes of fresh water which will be produced on board through 4 reverse osmosis plants (desalinators).

General Manager of Wellard Rural Exports, Stephen Meerwald, said meeting demand from long distance, volume markets with a priority on delivering the product in first class condition was a guiding principle behind the construction of the M.V Becrux.

"This vessel meets, and exceeds, all AMSA requirements, which are the world's highest, with respect to animal welfare and comfort.


Inspectors board the MV Becrux
ABC report
26 July 2002

Inquiries continue into the biggest livestock fatality in Australia's export history, with inspectors boarding the vessel, MV Becrux, at first light in the Victorian Port of Portland this morning.

More than 2000 sheep and cattle died on the ship's maiden voyage last month, but the exporter involved, Wellard Rural Exports, has applied to take another load of sheep to the Middle East on the Becrux.

It could be several days before officials from the Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Maritime Safety Authority and the livestock exporters body, Livecorp, decide if the ship can load.

The world's largest custom-built livestock carrier docked in Portland at 5 pm last night, after blustery conditions delayed its arrival. Inspectors from the three bodies conducting inquiries boarded the ship as soon as it docked, and spent five hours on board, before leaving the ship, and boarding again at first light this morning.

ABC rural has been told the ship looks structurally sound, and it's likely the weather remains the key factor in the deaths.

The records of the Becrux show 614 of the cattle died on board, the majority of them on June 29, the day it entered the Persian Gulf and ran into 45 degree temperatures and 100 per cent humidity.

It's expected to be two to three days before the vessel is cleared, and around 25,000 sheep are already in the nearby feedlot waiting to load.


RSPCA says cattle export ban not tough enough
18 July 2002

Hugh Wirth, RSPCA president, has criticised the Australian Federal Government's response to the deaths of hundreds of cattle on their way to the Middle East earlier this month.

Yesterday the Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, announced a ban on the export of live cattle breeds from southern Australia. But Dr Wirth says that this ban only applies to 10 per cent of the total annual trade of 250,000 cattle to the Middle East and only until the end of August. The other 90 per cent go to the Red Sea where temperatures are similar, but the ban won't apply to this trade.

The RSPCA wants a total ban on live cool-climate breeds trade to anywhere in the Middle East between May and October. Dr Wirth was highly critical of the situation on the Becrux vessel which led to the cattle deaths this month. But a spokesman for Livecorp said that there had been no indication of the problems on the Becrux before it reached the Gulf.

She said that it was the lack of wind in the Persian Gulf that had led to the problems. 'We don't have this issue in the Red Sea,' she said, 'as there are prevailing winds there and this is the reason for the different rules being applied to the areas.'


Livestock being shipped at record levels, says Meat and Livestock Australia
5 Aug 2002

Meat and Livestock Australia has found that live cattle and sheep have been shipped to overseas markets in record numbers over the past year. More than 6.9 million live sheep were shipped over 2001-2002, a 14-year record, with over two million being sent to Saudi Arabia. Live cattle exports also increased in 2001-2002, by 13 per cent, with 819,400 animals shipped with a value of over $AUS 560 million.

Australia's largest livestock market is still Indonesia, followed by Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. The MLA said that the good news will continue, especially for sheep farmers and exporters, with trade buoyant in the months leading up to Ramadan and Haj. Many exporters have offered sheep farmers forward contracts for these festival periods, the MLA said, with a record number of fat-tailed sheep expected to be supplied. Exports of southern cattle to the Middle East have been halted, however, since the deaths of almost 900 animals on a transport ship a month ago. Inquiries are being held into the how the cattle died on the MV Becrux.

Cattle exports were lower in June, and down almost one per cent for the first half of 2002 on the same period in 2001.



Extracts from:
Maldives Culture is an independent internet magazine of Maldivian cultural issues.
Editors and translators: Michael O'Shea and Fareesha Abdulla, Australia
We invite contributions from Maldivians and others interested in Maldives.
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