“New findings show Australian sheep face dangerous heat stress on export ships” by Clive Phillips, was published in The Conversation and subsequent publications last week. I do not wish to draw unnecessary attention to the article; however, I strongly believe a response is necessary.
The scientific field that considers the impacts of heat stress on animal welfare is inherently complex, which in turn gives rise to debate about the veracity of scientific conclusions. The current results speak for themselves, as I will detail below, and conclusions need to be made based on the dedicated and professional work of the stock hands and veterinarians that accompany these voyages.
Clive Phillips used outdated data to justify his arguments, and pre-dates the reforms under which industry currently operates. With, industry approved, significantly reduced stocking densities that provide exported sheep with substantially more room onboard and the industry led introduction of a self-imposed summer moratorium the data used is obsolete. The results since the reforms speak for themselves. On the ship Al Kuwait’s* recently concluded maiden voyage, of the 60,183 sheep exported there were only 62 mortalities. This follows the excellent animal welfare outcomes achieved during shipments made in 2019, evidenced by the very low mortalities on these voyages.
Cultural heritage and religious requirements may not be top of mind for many Australians, they are, however, part of the fabric of daily life in many other parts of the world, including the Middle East. Demand for live sheep is part of this and needs to be recognised and respected. COVID-19 will and has resulted in some changes in our global markets, like our domestic markets with meat being supplied directly to homes or a meat pick up service being offered. Audits are and will continue to occur remotely while export destinations adapt to the biosecurity laws, with the priority being to uphold the wellbeing of our livestock and people during the pandemic.
The pandemic is not something that should be used for political leverage, it is a time for industries to work together. All industries are experiencing a period of adjustment right now. Food security and high quality protein has never been more important for our trading partners and the livestock export industry has the responsibility to meet their needs.
While I do not know Clive Phillips personally, I do know that he is on the record as opposing the livestock export trade, even before his appointment to the Technical Reference Panel examining heat stress risk arrangements for the export of sheep to the Middle East (the HSRA Review). I would welcome the opportunity to meet with him to discuss his article and bring him up to date on the current industry and how animal welfare is part of good business and remains an industry focus.
The Technical Reference Panel drew on a narrow range of scientific conclusions to justify an arbitrary measurement for assessing heat stress. The Panel’s recommendations were not only impractical for implementing on livestock vessels, they were impractical at all levels of animal production. Australia’s farming community reacted accordingly in rejecting those recommendations. The article’s conclusions read as pre-disposed and his advice to producers that the trade is finished and that producers need to adjust is gratuitous at best, and I am confident it will be rejected by producers.
I joined the Australian Livestock Exporters Council at the beginning of 2019 and since commencing, I am continually reminded of the past and incidents that have occurred during its history. While it is important to acknowledge the past, it is more important to learn from it and improve. The live sheep export industry has listened and continued to improve, and it is time to start looking forward as Australian live exporters are global leaders in animal welfare, as cited by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
I am proud to stand by the results the live sheep industry has achieved over the past 18 months and how it has pursued its reform agenda. I am confidently looking forward to the future of the industry. Why? Because so far, the results speak for themselves.
Mark Harvey-Sutton is the CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC), a member-based, peak industry body representing Australia’s livestock export sector which contributes over $1 billion in export earnings annually while employing 13,000 mainly regional Australians.
* Live sheep and cattle vessel’s first voyage with new owner lauded Sheep Central here.
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]
Qatar Airways Cargo transported 56 SkyCell containers with vaccines from one of the largest vaccine manufacturers worldwide on its scheduled freighter and belly-hold cargo flights for its customer, CEVA Logistics. The 54-tonne shipment consisting of pneumococcal and varicella vaccines were flown from Brussels to Mumbai via the carrier’s hub in Doha on two separate flights. […]