Investigators have confirmed that sheep deaths on a plane between Perth and Singapore earlier this month were due to heat stress.
Investigations by the Agri Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) showed that the death of 174 sheep on October 2 was due to an air-conditioning pack producing a lower rate of airflow, a statement from Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said.
The sheep were part of a consignment of 2200 sheep imported by Mini Environment Services (MES) via SIA Cargo plane for the korban ritual of the major Muslim festival Hari Raya Haji. The council said there was no indication of infectious disease in the dead sheep.
Investigations from SIA Cargo showed that the aircraft had departed Perth, Australia in fully serviceable condition, the statement said.
“However, a few hours into the flight, one of the three air-conditioning packs on the aircraft produced a slightly lower rate of airflow to the cargo compartment on an intermittent basis.
“This lower airflow rate affected a small section of the aircraft and may have caused a disruption of temperature in that section of the aircraft.”
The council said in spite of the incident, this year’s korban was carried out smoothly on October 5 at 24 mosques and two Malay/Muslim organisations, all of which complied with the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) internationally accepted animal welfare standards.
Australia’s Department of Agriculture is also investigating the deaths and said a 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.
A reportable mortality level for sheep of two percent is prescribed by the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL).
A Singapore Airlines spokesperson has said the consignment was handled strictly according to the International Air Transport Association’s procedures for the carriage of livestock.
Source: Islamic Religious Council of Singapore