Two Australian ships holding thousands of sheep have been rejected from loading in Kuwait and Bahrain and remain at sea.
The Australian ship Ocean Drover, carrying 22,000 sheep, has been blocked from unloading in Bahrain since the end of August.
The sheep have already been on the water for 33 days.
Kuwait has also rejected a shipment exported by the Australian company Emanuel’s on the Kuwaiti ship Al Shuwaikh. About 50,000 sheep are on board the ship and was due to dock a week ago.
There are unconfirmed reports that the carrier is now moving its cargo to shore.
According to the Australian agriculture department, the shipments are both infected with the disease scabby mouth.
After the Cormo Express case, in which more than 5,000 sheep died, Australia signed memoranda of understanding with destination countries that oblige them to accept live exports into feedlots within 36 hours, including into quarantine, if needed.
But the new cases suggest procedures for animal welfare in the live export trade have failed.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon says the situation is unacceptable.
“The memorandum of understanding now looks like worthless bits of paper,” she said.
“What they require is for the sheep to be unloaded within 36 hours of docking.
Scientists and farming leaders are urgently seeking ways of fighting a disease new to the UK threatening sheep flocks.
Weeks after government vets confirmed the arrival in Britain of the deadly Schmallenberg virus, which causes miscarriages and birth deformities in lambs, 74 farms in southern and eastern England have been found to have the disease and the number is expected to rise sharply as the lambing season peaks.
Restrictions on animal movements, imports and exports are unlikely because officials do not want to further jeopardise rural economies to combat a virus that has also affected cattle and goats across Europe but is not thought to be dangerous to people. Public health bodies are monitoring the health of farmers, farm workers and vets who have been in contact with infected animals.
The National Farmers Union has warned of a “ticking time bomb” over the disease, which has affected up to 20% of lambs on some farms. The virus, which is thought to have been carried by midges over the North Sea or English Channel, is named after a farm in Germany where it was first identified last year. It was initially seen in cattle and quickly spread through the Netherlands and Belgium to northern France.
THE head of an independent review into live exports has backed the government’s decision not to make stunning mandatory in the slaughter of Australia animals overseas, saying the practice is not universal and can still be inhumane.
Former departmental secretary Bill Farmer released the report of his investigation into the industry today as Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig confirmed a series of reforms to the $1 billion a year trade, reported by The Australian today.
The new arrangements will see extra transparency measures in place for live cattle exports to Indonesia – introduced in the wake of graphic ABC Four Corners footage – extended to all markets, including Asia and the Middle East, and will also cover the live-sheep and goat export industries.
The changes, which represent an unprecedented shake-up of the industry, will be staggered over the next 14 months to avoid mass disruptions.
Mr Farmer said the review examined animal killing practices overseas – with and without stunning – that met animal welfare guidelines.
“We also saw practices, both stunning and non-stunning, that fell far short of the OIE guidelines. Stunning applied incorrectly is not a humane practice,” he said.
“There is not universal acceptance of stunning, including under our own guidelines in Australia.”
Mr Farmer said he did see a “very significant move in Indonesia” to introduce stunning and by August, 30 abattoirs there had introduced the practice.
Senator Ludwig said the government had accepted all 14 recommendations made by Mr Farmer.
HONOLULU – The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is now accepting application forms for the 2011 Lanai Mouflon Sheep Hunting Season.
There will be three types of hunts, archery, muzzleloading and general rifle, which will be held during different periods beginning July 30 through Oct. 23.
Applications and instruction sheets are available at all Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices statewide.
Applicants may also see: www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.
Applications for all hunts may be submitted in person or mailed to the Maui Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office, 54 South High St., Room 101, Wailuku, 96793.
Lanai residents only are to mail or deliver their applications to the Lanai Division of Forestry and Wildlife office at 917 Fraser Ave., P.O. Box 630661, Lanai City, 96763.
The deadline is 4 p.m., May 27.
For more information on Maui, call 984-8100; on Molokai, call 553-1745; and on Lanai, call 565-7916.