Two tales of one shipment

02/07/2015

The Ministry of Primary Industries has one story:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed the 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle, exported to Mexico are now at a holding farm following their 15-day journey from Timaru.

A total of 191 sheep and one cow died – 0.42% and 0.03% respectively of the sheep and cattle in the shipment. This compares favourably with the average mortality of 0.71% in 40 Australian live sheep shipments last year.

MPI’s Director Animal and Animal Products, Matthew Stone, said the exact cause of the deaths is not yet known but, as a matter of course, MPI has required a detailed voyage report by mid-July from the exporter, which will include information from the veterinarian who travelled with the shipment.

“Nothing unexpected happened in terms of the animals’ health and welfare during the voyage,” said Mr Stone.

“The stockmen on board report the sheep had a 10% to 12% weight gain on the 15 day voyage.”

Mexican authorities oversaw the completion of the vessel’s disembarkation process. . .

And SAFE has another story:

192 lives lost on export shipment

Animal advocacy organisation SAFE is appalled that 191 sheep and one cow perished on board a controversial live export shipment to Mexico. The shipment of a reported 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle was the largest cargo of animals ever to leave New Zealand.

“192 animals have died and it begs the question, how many more will die on the next stage of their journey?” says SAFE’s executive director, Hans Kriek.

The sheep are being transported by truck for 1000 kilometres in 30-degree temperatures to a farm near Mexico City from where they will be distributed to smaller farms. It was reported that some sheep also died at the feedlots as they waited to board.

There are no reports yet on why the animals died, but it is known that on live export ships a number of animals die from illness or starvation. Some suffer from ‘inanition’ – not recognising the ship food of pellets as food as they were previously used to being on pasture.

When we were in Darwin at All Flex’s PPP conference a couple of weeks ago the preparation of animals for live shipments, which includes conditioning on the feed they will eat at sea, was explained.

Stock are monitored carefully and any not eating enough are culled before they embark and well before there is any danger of starvation.

I am certain that those caring for the sheep in New Zealand would take similar care for both animal welfare and financial reasons.

Although the shipment is purportedly for breeding purposes rather than for slaughter, which is illegal, SAFE says this latest shipment ignores the spirit of the ban on live export since the animals will still eventually be slaughtered in Mexico after they are no longer required for breeding, most likely in conditions that would be deemed cruel and illegal in this country. . .

 New Zealand’s meat works are world leading, I don’t know enough to comment on Mexico’s but the sheep and cattle would eventually be slaughtered had they stayed in New Zealand.

Apropos of dying at sea, another fact we learned in Darwin was that the death rate for people on cruise liners is as high as 2.5%.

Weight gain is also common among people on cruises though probably not as high as the 10-12% gain of the stock.


Pigs in Muckraking – Updated & Updated again

18/05/2009

When a television show gives only one side of a story, I wonder what the other side would say.

I don’t know enough to comment on the issues of pig farming which were raised in last night’s Sunday programme but Farmgirl is better informed and brings some balance to the story.

Good journalism requires balance. Sunday should have given the farmers an opportunity to give their side of the story and it would have helped to have a vet’s point of view too.

There are no excuses for mistreating animals and saying it happens elsewhere is no excuse for cruelty. But nothing is gained for animal welfare if the pork industry here is killed and replaced by meat from overseas where pig farming practices are no better and possibly even worse.

UPDATE:

Minister of Agriculture David Carter has asked animal campaigners to reveal the location of the pig farm shown on Sunday.

“If SAFE has the welfare of these animals at heart, it needs to provide details of the property today so the authorities can the take appropriate action.  I have asked MAF to undertake an inspection as soon as we know the farm’s location,” Mr Carter said.

That is a very sensible response because MAF can’t do anything until they know where the property is.

It raises the question of why SAFE hasn’t already gone to the authorities and any further delay in doing so would suggest they care more about publicity for their campaign than the welfare of the pigs.

UPDATE 2: The Bull Pen has more with King hit on pig farming.

UPDATE 2: Keeping Stock posts on SAFE pork , highlighting a story from the NZ Herald which says SAFE is refusing to identify the farm.

When asked by nzherald.co.nz if that was due to publicity, Mr Kriek said yes.

I’m not going to give you all the details of our strategy, which is a very sound one,” Mr Kriek said.

The organisation which is supposed to save animals from exploitation is exploiting animals by putting publicity before the pigs.


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