The death of 174 sheep on a flight to Singapore from Perth last week is being investigated by the Department of Agriculture.
A DA spokesperson said the department was aware of the incident, in which 174 sheep reportedly died while being flown to Singapore for the korban ritual of the major Muslim festival Hari Raya Haji.
“It would appear from initial reports that there were 174 mortalities on the air consignment of 2200 sheep to Singapore.
“The department is aware of the incident and is now conducting an investigation,” the spokesperson said.
“The department is working with the exporter involved and the Singaporean authorities as part of its investigation.”
The DA spokesperson said the exporter concerned reported the incident to DA as soon as it was aware a reportable mortality level was exceeded. A reportable mortality level for sheep of two percent is prescribed by the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL).
Singapore Airlines co-operating after “unfortunate incident”
A Singapore Airlines spokesperson said 174 sheep did not survive a SA Cargo freighter that arrived in Singapore from Perth on October 2. “The consignment was handled strictly according to the International Air Transport Association’s procedures for the carriage of livestock.
“Singapore Airlines Cargo will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities with the ongoing investigations as to why the unfortunate incident took place.”
Deaths during air shipment ‘rare’ – ALEC
ALEC chief executive officer Alison Penfold said the deaths were believed to be due to a ventilation failure, but an investigation by Singapore Airlines Cargo would determine the exact cause. She said at least three air shipments of livestock, mainly goats, leave Australia every week. “It’s very rare that this happens.”
Animals Australia calls for review of air shipment practice
Animals Australia executive director, Glenys Oogjes said suffocation and likely heat stress is a terrible way to die. “These animals would have suffered prolonged and distressing deaths and those who survived the flight would have also suffered terribly. “Hundreds of sheep and cattle have died on planes during live export in four separate incidents over the past 12 months,” she said. “It’s time for the government to reconsider the appropriateness of exporting livestock in the belly hold of planes if airplane engineers and flight crew are unable to avoid such incidents.”
Sheepmeat vice-president wants Australia to be preferred supplier of live sheep by air
Sheepmeat Council of Australia vice-president Jeff Murray said he was concerned about the recent deaths because he wanted Australia to be a preferred supplier of sheep for live air shipment.
“Singapore is our oldest single market.”
Mr Murray said everything should be done to minimise live export losses.
“The more competition we’ve got in the market the better it is for our sheep producers.
“We need all the markets we can get.”
The DA spokesperson said the department is committed to thorough investigations.
“No shortcuts are taken.
“When reportable mortality events occur, the aim of the investigation is to consider all factors that might have contributed to the event to see if further improvements in the system can be made to reduce the likelihood of such an event reoccurring,” the spokesperson said.
The investigation report will be published on the department’s website once complete. Reports on DA investigations are available at www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/export/live-animals/livestock/regulatory-framework/compliance-investigations/investigations-regulatory-compliance. Since 2006, the department has also publicly published information on the investigations of consignments with reportable mortality events on http://www.daff.gov.au/biosecurity/export/live-animals/livestock/aqis-mortality-investigations.