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Animal welfare risks in live cattle export from Australia to China by sea

Hing, S., Foster, S. and Evans, D. (2021) Animal welfare risks in live cattle export from Australia to China by sea. Animals, 11 (10). Art. 2862.

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There are long-standing and ongoing concerns about the welfare of animals in the Australian live export trade by sea. However, scrutiny of animal welfare on board vessels is generally hindered by a lack of independent reporting. Cattle voyages from Australia to China have concerned animal welfare advocates due to their long duration and lack of consistent veterinary oversight. In April 2018, following a media exposé of animal cruelty and declining public trust, the Australian government installed Independent Observers on some live export voyages. Summaries of Independent Observer (IO) reports by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) provided a new and independent source of information about management of animals in the live export trade. The IO summaries on live cattle export voyages to China for the period July 2018 to December 2019 (n = 37) were reviewed. The IO summaries detailed voyages that carried 147,262 slaughter, feeder or breeder cattle which included both dairy and beef breeds. The long-haul voyages averaged 20 days in duration, generally departing the ports of Fremantle and Portland and discharging at ports in northern China. Key animal welfare risk factors identified in the IO summaries included: hunger, thirst, exposure to extreme temperatures, poor pen conditions, health issues, absence of veterinarians, rough seas, poor ship infrastructure, mechanical breakdown and mismanagement at discharge.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Copyright: © 2021 The Authors.
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