AUSTRALIA’S largest live sheep shipper is expecting its first shipment for several months to arrive in the Middle East in less than a week.
Rural Export and Trading WA, the Australian subsidiary of Kuwait Livestock Transport and Trading, Australia’s biggest live sheep buyer and importer into the Middle East, is expecting a shipment of 58,886 sheep and 312 cattle on the Al Shuwaikh to arrive in Kuwait on November 29.
KLTT operates in Kuwait as Al Mawashi and chief executive officer, Osama Boodai, said during last year the company imported about 1.28 million head of live sheep to Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman. Since its establishment in 1973, KLTT has been the world’s largest live sheep transporter and in the past 45 years has shipped more than 80 million Australian live sheep to the region on its licensed fleet.
RETWA general manager Mike Gordon said the sheep to be delivered at Kuwait, the Al Shuwaikh’s first port of discharge, would represent the first Australian consignment to be processed in Al Mawashi’s new A$70 million closed-loop abattoir in Kuwait.
Mr Gordon said the Al Shuwaikh sailed from Fremantle on November 12, with 58,886 sheep and 312 cattle on board, bound for Kuwait, Qatar and The United Arab Emirates. He said the overall farm-gate value of the shipment was A$6.5 million.
As of day 9 of the voyage, the Australian Government-accredited veterinarian on board reported 59 sheep mortalities, or about 0.1 per cent of the total number of sheep on board. No cattle mortalities have occurred.
“The stocking rate required by the regulator for shipments from November onward is 17.5 per cent extra space per animal, on top of the existing ASEL requirement.
“The stocking rate on the Al Shuwaikh is over and above that extra 17.5pc and the feedback we have received, including photos from the on-board veterinarian, has been very encouraging,” Mr Gordon said.
“The ship has crossed the equator and is encountering calm seas and temperatures in the high 20s.”
Mr Gordon said the on-board vet had also temporarily re-arranged some pens during the voyage to demonstrate and record what the extra 17.5 percent of space per animal looked like.
“We’ve loaded the ship lighter than the current regulatory requirement, but the AAV has taken the opportunity during the voyage to also observe sheep at the benchmark set by the regulator.
“The AAV will provide some valuable feedback from an objective veterinary and animal welfare perspective based on those observations,” he said.
About 40 percent of the Al Shuwaikh’s consignment will be delivered to Kuwait, with the vessel then scheduled to sail to Qatar to deliver a further 40pc. The balance of the cargo will be discharged in the UAE.
Mr Gordon said RETWA would load a similar sized consignment for the Arabian Gulf on the Al Messilah in the first week of December.
Why do we have to send live animals? Why can’t they be killed here and exported frozen?