THE Australian Live Exporters Council says it is in contact with a cattle exporter to learn the circumstances surrounding deaths of “dozens of cattle” in hot and crowded conditions in Israel.
Israeli media reported the cattle died while being disembarked from livestock carrier Maysora (IMO 8310542), a ship flagged in the Bahamas and run by run by Perth-based Livestock Shipping Services.
The Maysora arrived in Israel on 7 June with an estimated 20,000 cattle and sheep.
The Israeli Agricultural Ministry is reported to have determined that 34 calves died on board and 30 died after disembarking.
The Australian Live Exporters’ Council said the welfare of exported Australian livestock was their “primary concern”.
“ALEC is aware of the recent concerns raised regarding the treatment and condition of Australian cattle during disembarkation in Israel last week and is in direct contact with the exporter to better understand the situation,” a spokesperson said.
“ALEC has been advised that daily reports were sent by the Australian government accredited veterinarian to the exporter and the Australian government as per normal practice, these reports did not raise any animal welfare concerns.”
The spokesperson said delays during unloading in Israel were outside exporters’ control, with extra feed and care taken to ensure that no animal welfare incidences occurred.
“ALEC understands that the cattle sustained no injuries when disembarking and the total mortality rate was 0.53%, well below the 1% level which would require reporting to the regulator,” the spokesperson said.
“ALEC will continue to work closely with the exporter and the Australian government regarding these concerns.”
Footage of dead cattle was posted on Facebook by the group Israel against Live Shipments and then shared by the Australian group Vets against Live Export.
Live exports from Australia remain politically contentious, the case of the Awassi Express and sheep enduring intense heat, was highlighted last year on the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes program.