Live sheep exporter reports above average survival rates

Sheep Central, October 18, 2019

Trucks loading sheep onto the Al Messilah.

MAJOR live exporter Rural Export and Trading WA has reported above average survival rates for multiple shipments involving more than 700,000 sheep in the past 12 months.

General manager of KLTT’s Rural Export & Trading WA Mike Gordon said the company, as the largest sheep exporter in Australia to the Middle East recently finished discharging the first vessel since the moratorium June-September period ended.

In its most recent 21-day voyage from Western Australia, the Al Messilah loaded 54,390 sheep and 467 cattle. The vessel discharged in three ports; Kuwait, UAE and Qatar.

“During one of the discharge ports there was a minor 12-hour delay in discharge.

“Sheep panting scores ranged from 1-3 during the voyage and with wet bulb temperatures of 29-33 at times during the voyage,” he said.

“The sheep had adapted well to voyage conditions and since discharge have acclimatised well in the importing market.

“During the voyage there was 0.24 percent mortalities in sheep and zero in cattle, consistent with voyages since the RETWA licence was granted.”

Mr Gordon said since RETWA was granted an export licence late in 2018, the company had exported more than 768,500 sheep to the Middle Eastern countries of Kuwait, Qatar and UAE.

“These sheep have been delivered over 12 consignments.

“These consignments have had delivery success rates ranging from 99.54-99.89pc,” he said.

“Shipments in May 2019 under new allometric stocking densities had discharged with success rates of 99.83pc and 99.89pc.

“This is a significant improvement on previous industry averages,” Mr Gordon said.

“In efforts to further improve voyage results, we are not only basing success on minimal mortalities, but continue to work with industry on research into the best animal welfare and wellbeing measures to help deliver and verify good welfare outcomes on voyages.”

RETWA said it fully supported the industry lead moratorium for June, July and August and the science behind this decision to ensure a sustainable trade.

Al Mawashi looking to Australia and South Africa for shipments

KLTT operates in Kuwait as Al Mawashi, which recently shipped sheep from South Africa on the Al Shuwaikh to supplement supplies from Australia, but met opposition from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which said it would be taking legal action in relation to the shipment and to stop further live exports.

Al Mawashi chief executive officer Osama Boodai has told Sheep Central the company would refute any NSCPA claims.

“We used the same standards that we are using in Australia for preparing and loading the cargo.”

Mr Boodai said KLTT would be seeking another consignment from South Africa of 70,000 sheep and 1000 cattle, most probably in the first quarter of 2020.

“Al Mawashi was seeking a second sustainable livestock supply since 2016 because to us, it is about national food security.

“In 2019, we loaded two shipments from Somalia, one shipment from Romania and one shipment from South Africa and the rest from Australia,” he said.

“Australia’s livestock export is core to the sheep industry (particularly in WA) and to its economy.

“Australia will continue supplying livestock, although it may mean more regulations and continuous improvements to the supply chain,” Mr Boodai said.


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  1. Katrina Love, October 21, 2019

    As we have already concluded, the survival rate has little to do with degree of suffering.

    RETWA’s Mike Gordon says “Sheep panting scores ranged from 1-3 during the voyage and with wet bulb temperatures of 29-33 at times during the voyage.”

    A panting score of 3 demonstrates extreme heat stress and we also know that sheep suffer when the wet bulb temperature exceeds 28… yet this is something they are proud of.

  2. Suzanne Cass, October 18, 2019

    Yes, I’ve seen what went on with the loading of the Al Shuwaikh in East London, good luck with that one. The Al Shuwaikh can’t come back here after December 31 unless it gets rid of its double-tiered pens. And neither of these two may survive the IMO’s sulphur cap regulations after January anyway.
    The best news ever.

  3. Jack Cleary, October 18, 2019

    If one has the naivety to believe anything any of what these forever-offending exporters and importers say in their own praise one might look at the losses even on the ‘absolutely’ top claim of 768,000 sheep, 845 died…undoubtedly in distress and misery. But that’s ok..that’s very good…(compared with a) the truth b) other trips) Perhaps these people should have their children placed alongside the sheep for the trip…see how they get on.

    Now let’s say this is a massive improvement, as their breathless boasting and spruiking portrays, one might look more closely at the history of these groups and their shippers. 844 deaths….so stated or 0.11 percent for those who can add and subtract. Don’t look at percentages, look at numbers; each one is a social animal treated like humans were in the cattle trains in WW1. We cry about the humans, but who cares about the sheep?

    As for respiration 1-3…that’s quite a gap….setting aside foecal scoring etc…Let’s look at the supposedly heroic panting scores …is that 1-3/100?…/50?…/20?…/10/?../5? well no…its actually /4.. These wool-pullers and smoke blowers had sheep in this range.

    1 = Slight panting, mouth closed, 2 = Fast panting, occasional open mouth, 3 = Open mouth and some drooling, 4 = Open mouth, tongue out and drooling. In other words, considering ruminant resilience to water deprivation.

    So…getting back to the cruelty to sheep and other livestock…this promenading of purported ‘percentages’ is just a cover for people who don’t think past ‘percentage’, who don’t know about sheep condition scoring or are happy to join the misleading numbers so they feel better. Long-term, not agreeing with animal welfare I am now convinced we are just being led along by the nose to allow these traders to continue. Hopefully some readers will now look more closely and demand factual records from virtuous people on the live export trade. I hope the objectors shut down the live trade and leave these ‘business associates ‘ to take all the loss. I’d also suggest fines of $5000 per sheep that die during the ‘voyage’. Money is the only thing the ‘business men’ care about. That’s where to ‘sock it to them’ relentlessly.

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