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Why 16,000 Livestock Are Stuck At Sea With Nowhere To Go

A livestock ship with 16,000 sheep and cattle has been stranded off the coast of Western Australia for just over a month.

The animals were being exported to the Middle East but the ship was turned back because of conflict in the Red Sea. Now there are growing concerns for the wellbeing of the animals on board.

Dr Suzanne Fowler, RSPCA Australia’s Chief Science Officer, told The Briefing about the biosecurity laws in place preventing the animals from returning to Australia.

“Unfortunately there’s no good outcome for these animals. They will need to be killed in some way”, Fowler said.

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“They can’t actually re-enter what we would refer to as the Australian herd, for biosecurity reasons,” she said, “We acknowledge that, but we do believe that those biosecurity risks could be managed well.”

Live exports to Indonesia were banned for six months in 2011 by the then-Gillard government, following a harrowing Four Corners report that found the livestock were exposed to extraordinary cruelty. Why are live exports still allowed today?

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