Australian Alliance for Animals Media Release
The Australian Alliance for Animals is calling for common sense to prevail as the Department of Agriculture considers an application to re-export thousands of Australian sheep and cattle stranded on the MV Bahijah currently anchored off the Port of Fremantle.
The vessel departed Australian waters for Jordan on 5 January 2024 but was ordered to abort the voyage and return to Fremantle amid escalating conflict in the Red Sea.
The Department of Agriculture issued a statement today advising that it was assessing an application to re-export the 15,000 sheep and cattle as a priority.
The new voyage would be expected to avoid the conflict zone by circumnavigating the African continent to access Jordan via the Suez Canal with an expected journey time of over 33 days.
Alliance for Animals Policy Director Dr Jed Goodfellow said the statement was alarming and called for common sense and decency to prevail.
“These animals have already endured 27 days at sea – that’s almost a month of standing and lying in their own faeces, weathering heat and humidity in tight quarters, and enduring the multitude of additional environmental stressors inherent to the live export process.
“The cumulative stress these animals have faced, and will face should they be re-exported, would be unbearable.
“The fact the Department is even considering this application is shocking – they haven’t even obtained an independent veterinary assessment of the animals’ health and welfare.
“It would be the height of recklessness to subject these animals to another gruelling 33 days at sea under these circumstances.
“The Department already made a serious error of judgement in approving the shipment to set sail in the first place, knowing of the risks posed by Houthi Rebel attacks in the Red Sea as far back as November.
“It shouldn’t make a bad decision worse, by re-approving this shipment to set sail again.
“We have learnt from decades of experience that live exporters will take whatever risks they can get away with.
“It’s incumbent on the Government to ensure animal welfare is put first for a change – the Australian community will be expecting nothing less.
“Rejecting this application and ordering all animals to be unloaded is the only reasonable decision to make in these circumstances.”
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