One sheep has had to be euthanased and three others have been injured before being loaded onto a live export ship docked at Port Adelaide, the RSPCA says.
The Al Shuwaikh arrived at the port over the weekend, ready to transport South Australian livestock to the Middle East for Emanuel Exports.
Emanuel Exports was at the centre of the latest live animal trade controversy, after vision emerged showing sheep aboard one of its other ships — the Awassi Express — dying from heat stress on a voyage to the Middle East last August.
The RSPCA said it was contacted by a member of the public about 7:30am on Tuesday, alerting the organisation to an incident involving a sheep truck carrying sheep to be loaded onto the Al Shuwaikh.
Separately, a sheep on another truck was found to have a broken leg on arrival to Outer Harbor and was euthanased by a vet on site, the RSPCA said.
“An RSPCA SA inspector was advised by on-site veterinarians and a representative from Emanuel Exports that three sheep had been injured when a deck on a four-decked semi-trailer transporting sheep from the Nasser feedlot in Dublin to Outer Harbor collapsed during transit,” the RSPCA said in a statement.
“The cause of the deck’s collapse is believed to be metal fatigue.
“The injured animals were removed from the vehicle and inspected by three veterinarians on-site for the loading — one from the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and two employed by the Perth-based live export company Emanuel Exports.
“The vets assessed the sheep’s injuries as very minor and the animals were returned to the Dublin feedlot.
“RSPCA SA has been advised that the animals will be monitored by vets and treatment will be provided if required.”
About 60,000 sheep are being loaded onto the ship from Port Adelaide, along with 70 cattle.
The vessel will then depart from Fremantle tomorrow to pick up another 12,000 sheep, before heading to Kuwait and Qatar.
More livestock trucks arrive at Port Adelaide, carrying sheep bound for the Middle East @abcadelaide
The Australian Live Exporters’ Council said a Federal Government observer was travelling aboard the Al Shuwaikh, along with the usual Federal Government accredited vet.
But RSPCA animal welfare advocate Dr Rebekah Eyers said she held serious concerns more livestock would suffer when the ship began its trip to the Middle East later this month.
“This is regulatory failure … that this exporter even got a permit to export animals out of South Australia,” Ms Eyers said.
“We’ve seen clear evidence that this exporter [Emanuel Exports] cannot export animals into the Middle East without these animals suffering.”
Emanuel Exports managing director Graham Daws last week said the company had “taken steps over more than six months to address the issues arising from [its] own extensive review” and the findings of a Federal Agriculture Department review into last August’s incident.
“This includes reduced stocking rates in summer up to 15 per cent beyond the ASEL benchmark,” Mr Daws said.
“Australia’s livestock export industry remains accountable and transparent and Emanuel continues to work in a fully cooperative manner with the regulator.”