THE remaining sheep and cattle on the Israeli livestock carrier Bahijah are due to be unloaded this week but the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry says the animals’ fate is a decision for exporters Bassem Dabbah.
On Friday DAFF gave permission for the livestock to be unloaded in Fremantle, after earlier refusing permission for the ship and cargo to embark on the long voyage to Israel, this time via the Cape of Good Hope. The ship has previously been ordered back to Australia rather than take the risky route through the Red Sea.
WA premier Roger Cook yesterday confirmed unloading would proceed this week but couldn’t say whether the animals would be processed locally or trucked interstate.
Last week WAFarmers Livestock president Geoff Person told website Sheep Central the unloading would likely have to await quarantine and feedlot space, which would be available once another livestock carrier, Al Messilah, loaded its cargo of sheep. Mr Pearson also suggested that once Bahijah’s cargo was ‘rested’ it was likely the shipper could apply for a new export licence, a situation not without precedent when breakdowns had forced other vessels to return to Australia. Livestock exports, and particularly the re-export of Bahijiah’s cargo, are strenuously opposed by animal welfare advocates including the WA RSPCA.