A group of vets have spoken out in Australia over what they have labelled poor practices that are leading to avoidable animal deaths on live exports. The vets spoke out over a March 2016 shipment that left the countries northern port Townsville.
The shipment of the Bison Express from Townsville to Vietnam lead to 25 cattle deaths on board out of 1764 animals a mortality rate of 1.42 % the ABC has reported.
The average mortality rate for journeys over 10 days is 1% and 0.5 for shorter journeys.
An investigation into the matter by the Federal Department of Agriculture in Australia found that wet weather before the journey had contributed to the high mortality rate.
However vets advocacy group VALE (Vets against live export) found that the high mortality rate was due to the exporter loading animals not fit to load and failing to provide adequate bedding for animals on board.
"Cattle were dying from day one [of the voyage], so they weren't fit to load and arguably the whole consignment shouldn't have been loaded after such difficult conditions," Sue Foster spokesperson for VALE told the ABC.
Bedding is not currently a requirement for animals loaded from the countries north for export but is a requirement for those in the south of the country.
The Australia Ag department did note that the exporter had loaded fodder in excess of requirements as well as one tonne of saw dust and one tonne of chaff to dry animals hooves.
The investigation found that of the 25 deaths 14 were due to animals inability to stand or walk. The Northern Australian Cattle Company accepted the mortalities were a result of softened hooves from wet conditions which lead to infection and lameness.
Rough conditions at sea also lead to a higher mortality rate.
Since the incident 20,155 cattle have been exported by NACC with 37 mortalities at a rate of 0.18 %.