On 21 June 2013, the Department of Agriculture received a complaint from Animals Australia alleging that Australian animals arriving in Israel were taken off food and water some 48 hours before unloading. The department investigated the allegation and found that it was not substantiated.
1. The Complaint
On 21 June 2013, the Department of Agriculture (the department) received a complaint from Animals Australia alleging non compliance with Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) for sheep and cattle exported to Israel. Animals Australia alleged that animals exported from Australia were not provided with food and water for 48 hours prior to unloading at Eilat port in Israel. The complaint was based on information provided by a member of the public in Israel.
2. Conduct of the Investigation
The ASEL requires adequate feed and water to be provided to livestock during the voyage and discharge. ASEL standard 5.5(b) states:
‘All livestock on the vessel must have access to adequate water of a quality to maintain good health and suitable feed to satisfy their energy requirements, taking into consideration any particular needs of the livestock species, class and age:
(b) Adequate feed and water must be supplied to livestock waiting to be discharged, and during the discharge period.’
The scope of the investigation was to determine if the allegation was accurate and whether non compliance with the ASEL occurred.
The information the department reviewed in the conduct of the investigation included:
- the complaint sent to the department by Animals Australia
- information provided by the member of the public
- interviews with Australian Government Accredited Veterinarians (AAV) that have accompanied consignments of sheep and cattle to Israel
- daily voyage and end of voyage reports for consignments of livestock exported to Israel.
3. Investigation Findings
The department contacted the member of the public seeking further information about the complaint. However, the member of the public advised they had no further details. They had heard that Australian animals were taken off food and water 48 hours prior to unloading, from another person.
The department also interviewed three experienced shipboard AAVs who have accompanied multiple consignments of livestock to Israel and other destinations. The AAVs strongly rejected the allegation that livestock are not provided with feed and water for 48 hours prior to discharge. However, the AAVs reported that feed is routinely withheld from the livestock for up to 12 hours prior to discharge. One veterinarian also reported that on a voyage he accompanied, water was withheld for a period of six hours.
The ASEL permits feed and water curfews of up to 12 hours prior to road transportation. Feed and water curfews are routinely used prior to transport of livestock to minimises faecal soiling and contamination of trucks and to minimise the risk of livestock slipping and being injured.
4. Investigation Conclusions
No breaches of Australian regulations were found to have occurred. No regulatory action will be taken.