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Commentary

Animal Welfare Risks in Live Cattle Export from Australia to China by Sea

by 1, 2,* and 3
1
The Write Up, Perth 6000, Australia
2
Vets Against Live Export, Flinders Island 7255, Australia
3
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Australia, Deakin 2600, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Temple Grandin
Animals 2021, 11(10), 2862; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102862
Received: 10 September 2021 / Accepted: 22 September 2021 / Published: 30 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
There are ongoing concerns about the welfare of animals in the Australian live export trade by sea. However, information about the welfare of animals during voyages is difficult to obtain. In early 2018, the Australian government installed Independent Observers on some live export voyages. Summaries of Independent Observer (IO) reports provide a new source of information about management of animals in the live export trade. Cattle voyages from Australia to China have concerned animal welfare advocates due to their duration and lack of consistent veterinary oversight. We reviewed IO summaries on live cattle export voyages to China for the period July 2018 to December 2019 (n = 37). 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.
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; cattle; heat stress; live export; hunger; China animal welfare; cattle; heat stress; live export; hunger; China
MDPI and ACS Style

Hing, S.; Foster, S.; Evans, D. Animal Welfare Risks in Live Cattle Export from Australia to China by Sea. Animals 2021, 11, 2862. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102862

AMA Style

Hing S, Foster S, Evans D. Animal Welfare Risks in Live Cattle Export from Australia to China by Sea. Animals. 2021; 11(10):2862. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102862

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hing, Stephanie, Sue Foster, and Di Evans. 2021. "Animal Welfare Risks in Live Cattle Export from Australia to China by Sea" Animals 11, no. 10: 2862. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102862

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