I HAVE been travelling around Australia recently and have been amazed by how many people are concerned about the plight of whales.
While this is understandable, it is astounding to me that in the meantime, millions of Australian sheep and cows are left to suffer in the Middle East with full government support.
Tens of thousands of sheep shipped from Australia to slaughter in the Middle East were recently left stranded aboard their vessels – struggling to survive in the suffocating heat – after being turned away by officials in Bahrain and Kuwait.
One ship remained in the waters off Bahrain for almost two weeks following a journey which had already taken more than a month before the animals were offloaded in Pakistan, where the sheep are being “culled” (that’s a nice way of saying killed without stunning) because they have been found to have salmonella and actinomyces bacteria and now possibly even anthrax.
Then you have discarded farmed cows exported and dying in large numbers due to neglect.
More than 30,000 Australian cattle are being held in limbo in Egypt (half have been stranded for more than six weeks) due to a disagreement over the use of hormones.
If similar atrocities had happened to even one whale, the entire country would be jumping up and down.
Every year, millions of discarded sheep endure what can only be described as hell at sea.
What else can you honestly call cramming thousands of terrified sheep onto open-decked ships, many stories high, for a gruelling journey across thousands of kilometres in all weather extremes?
Many sheep starve or succumb to heat stroke and disease. When ships are turned away, the animals’ already miserable ordeal is only prolonged.
These are not the first cases in which sheep and cows have been nightmarishly stranded – and unless live exports end, they won’t be the last.
Perhaps the outcry isn’t as strong as it should be because Australians have become desensitised to this extreme suffering since it happens so frequently.
So, yes, “save the whales”, but please also save the sheep – end live exports now.
DIRECTOR OF CAMPAIGNS
PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL
TREATMENT OF ANIMALS