A ship carrying 14,000 sheep and 2,000 cattle ran aground off the west coast of Australia after failing to reach its original destination in Israel. The MV Bahija left Australia for Israel on January 5, but threats from Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea forced the ship to change course in mid-January.
look. Thousands of animals are trapped on a joyful ship off the west coast of Australia
The ship is currently not allowed to dock in Australia. It is therefore unclear what will happen to the animals on board. The animals may be unloaded in Australia, and then will have to be quarantined due to safety regulations, or the ship may be returned to Israel, resulting in a longer route around Africa and significant delays. The other option is to unload some of the animals and transport the rest to Israel.
Stress, heat, limited ventilation and dirty accommodation
Animal rights organizations are concerned about the welfare of animals due to temperatures reaching nearly 40 degrees in Oceania. Although the Australian Department of Agriculture claims the animals are currently healthy, animal rights activists are skeptical.
Rebecca Tabb, a spokeswoman for Stop Live Exports, an organization that opposes live animal exports, expressed concern about the situation. She confirmed that the animals had been at sea for 24 days and were exposed to stress resulting from heat and limited ventilation. Their accommodations on the ship are also said to be very polluted.
Stop Live Exports favors the option of landing the animals in Australia and putting them in quarantine: “Leaving the animals on board for longer and certainly the idea of putting them back at sea for 33 days is cruel.”
Sea transport of animals is a major problem in Australia
This incident has reignited discussions about the sea transport of live animals in Australia. Hundreds of thousands of sheep and cattle are exported by sea every year. Most of the cattle go to Asia, but the sheep mainly go to the Middle East, where Israel is the main customer.
In New Zealand, the export of live animals has already been banned after a ship carrying more than 5,800 cattle sank in 2020.
Many Australian politicians are now also voicing their concerns. The social democratic Labor government wants to ban animal exports, but faces opposition from farmer organizations who fear job losses.
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