Commenting on today's report that 67,000 sheep have been stranded for a week at Port Adelaide because of the ship's mechanical problems, Greens NSW Senator and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said the situation was a timely reminder of why the federal government should back the Greens' bill to ban live exports due for debate this Thursday.
"The welfare of the thousands of sheep contained on the 'Al Messilah', a former car transporter built in 1980, has been compromised before they even reach the abattoirs of the Middle East," Senator Rhiannon said.
"The spotlight is now on this vessel and the welfare of the sheep on board because it struck trouble near an Australian port.
"If the ship had faced problems way out at sea would we have ever known?
"Conditions on the ships that carry live exports contribute to the live export chain of cruelty.
"In 2002 the 'Al Messilah' was reportedly subject to AQIS and AMSA enquiries into excessive mortalities when 2,173 sheep died. In the same year it was detained in the US for deficiencies in staffing certifications and the next year there were reports of mechanical defects.
"Most vessels carrying live exports are more than 30 year old former oil tankers, container ships and vehicle transporters.
"The ships are subject to mechanical failures and are ill-equipped for the job.
"The public was appalled by what they saw on ABC's Four Corners.
"To see this suffering on our shores will no doubt build stronger concern and support for a live export ban.
"This incident will put further pressure on the federal government to pass the Greens' bill to stop this trade immediately," Senator Rhiannon said.
The Greens Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill 2011 is due to be debated in Federal Parliament this Thursday.
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