A statement by the Humane Society International suggesting a link between livestock exports from Fremantle and recent shark attacks off the West Australian Coast is a shameful exercise in denigrating the livestock export industry, according to CEO of the Australian Livestock Export Council Alison Penfold.
“The suggestion that sharks track livestock export vessels, whether carrying animals or not, across thousands of miles of ocean in wait for a carcass is fanciful if not delusional," Ms Penfold said in a media release issued Wednesday.
“Then to suggest that thousands of dead sheep are thrown overboard as ships depart Australian ports for the Middle East without care or consideration for the consequences of these actions is just blatantly wrong.
“There are strict regulations imposed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority around the discharge of animals including the requirement that no treated carcass of any dead livestock is disposed at sea within at least 20 nautical miles (37km) of nearest land.
“Masters of the ships must adhere to these international rules and livestock exporters ensure that they do.”
Ms Penfold said that mortality rates on board livestock vessels are low, with investment in improving onboard conditions in vessels and significant investment in research and development.
“The fact is that 99.55pc of export animals arrive in country fit and healthy as a result of a rigorous on board animal welfare regime including on board stockmen and vets caring for the animals throughout the voyage.
“It is disappointing that HSI has resorted to such fanciful lies for media headlines and disappointing that they will use a loose of life to mount a baseless political campaign against the livestock export industry.”