Animal rights activists in Australia have called for the release of thousands of sheep and cattle on board a cargo ship forced to turn back in the Red Sea after being hit by Houthi attacks. Animals that do not pose a biosecurity risk should be allowed on land, RSPCA Australia's Chief Scientific Officer Suzanne Fowler said today.
“We want the decision to be made as soon as possible,” Fowler said. Fowler said the animals were exposed to a number of stressors during the long voyage, citing unsanitary conditions on board, including temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius. “We do not support re-exports in any way,” Fowler said.
Outside: Thousands of animals on cargo ship for weeks
More than 16,000 animals, including goats and cattle, have been on a cargo ship anchored in Western Australia for nearly a month. The crew of the “MV Bahiyah” fears an attack by Houthi rebels while crossing the Red Sea to Israel.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's center-left government had earlier announced it would consider the exporter's request. The ship was bound for Israel. It left Perth on January 5, where it was due to return. Due to Australia's strict safety regulations, the animals are still on board.
Beta Organization has written a letter to the Prime Minister
According to animal protection organization PETA, more than 16,500 animals were on board the “MV Bahijah” for about four weeks. In a letter to Albanese published yesterday, activists said they were “disgusted and ashamed” of the animals' treatment.
The Red Sea and the Suez Canal are major trade routes for world trade, with around 20,000 ships typically passing through the canal each year. Due to attacks by Yemen's Houthi militias, many major shipping companies have decided to avoid the route.
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