Exporter on edge over cattle shipment | My Machinery
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Exporter on edge over cattle shipment

A WA live exporter has come under pressure over the suspicious death of 65 cattle and a shipment holding pregnant cows, sent to Mauritius. South East Asian Livestock Services (SEALS) sent a consignment of 2061 cattle to the country on October 5 last year, before the country became Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS)-compliant. Mauritius was part of the most recent ESCAS Tranche, which saw the country become ESCAS-compliant on December 31. It is alleged that 65 cattle died on board the shipment during the 10 day journey and two cows gave birth during the trip and another four cows were found to be pregnant. It is understood that before the cattle were loaded, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) had signed off on the shipment. A spokesperson for SEALS said the company notified DAFF on November 21 that a small percentage of heifers, within a shipment of cattle to Mauritius, were found to be pregnant after their arrival in Mauritius. “All the heifers had been manually pregnancy tested or spayed in accordance with ASEL standard S1.9(c)(i)-(iii) before their departure in early October,” the spokesperson said. “No pregnancies were recorded by the certifying veterinarians. “SEALS had all appropriate certification from veterinarians and vendors, verified by DAFF, before the vessel being loaded. “Two heifers gave birth on the voyage but it is not clear how advanced their pregnancies were at the time of departure. “Further pregnancy testing undertaken in Mauritius in mid-November confirmed a number of pregnancies that may have occurred before or after the voyage and on this basis SEALS reported the issue to DAFF.” The spokesperson said they did not wish to make a comment on the DAFF investigation but said their end of voyage reported submitted to DAFF on October 22 showed there were 18 mortalities during the journey. “This represented a mortality rate of less than one per cent,” they said. “The formal AMSA(Australian Marine Safety Authority) report containing this figure was also provided to DAFF. “These are the two formal reports required by legislation in relation to export of cattle.” As Farm Weekly understands, due to Mauritius not being an ESCAS market during the time of the shipment, SEALS did not have to self-report the issue to DAFF, but SEALS said it was committed to the long-term improvement of the live export trade. Accordng to the SEALS spokesperson, the company gave clients technical and management advice about their supply chain. “In this case, one of the recommendations was to install OIE (world standard) compliant slaughter equipment,” the spokesperson said. “We understand this has since been commissioned and has improved animal welfare further in Mauritius.” In a statement to Farm Weekly, DAFF said it had launched an investigation on November 21 when it had received the self-reported non-compliance by SEALS. “The investigation continues, using a range of investigative procedures,” the statement said. “DAFF does not currently have an officer on the ground in Mauritius and it would be inappropriate to comment further on an ongoing investigation.” “Under the ESCAS system, DAFF as the regulator will hold the investigation and can then consider whether action should be taken against the exporter. “DAFF will fully co-operate with overseas authorities if requested as part of its own investigations.”

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