Overall, the company's subsidiary, and an associate of Emanuel, EMS Rural Exports Pty Ltd, saw its livestock export licence cancelled by Australia's Department of Agriculture, as it was involved on a notorious incident of thousands of sheep dying from heat shock onboard one of its ships earlier this year.
The decision came after a 18-month investigation by compliance officers and the charges are related to heat stress suffered by sheep on a voyage from Fremantle to the Middle East on the Awassi Express in August 2017. 2,400 sheep died throughout the voyage.
In light of the heat stress, Australia has launched a draft report live sheep Heat Stress Risk Assessment, in protection of the livestock being transported.
The voyage was brought on the spotlight when a video was published on 60 Minutes showing numerous ships suffering severe heat stress and living in horrible conditions.
Therefore, the investigation conducted to the Awassi Express concluded that
The cause of this reportable mortality was heat stress. The peak in mortalities corresponded with extreme heat and humidity experienced in Qatar. The humidity and temperatures experienced from day 5 to day 13 and associated deck conditions, prior to arrival in Qatar is likely to have contributed to the severity of the mortality event. The highest mortality rates were in the ‘A’ class wethers (69.43 kg), which were the fourth most numerous class of the sheep on board the ship making up 7.51 per cent of the consignment. There was no significant correlation of mortalities with deck position.
Continuing, the department's first investigation resulted that sheep were prepared and transported in accordance with the Export Control (Animals) Orders and the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) based on the information provided to the department during the course of the original investigation. The additional material provided by Animals Australia in April 2018 revealed some breaches of ASEL relating to stock selection (S1.7 and S1.16(b)); preparation and loading (S4.12); and the on-board management of livestock and pens during the voyage (S5.6 and S5.7). That the animal welfare concerns and breaches were observed across the five voyages indicated broader issues with the exporters’ processes.
Following the investigation's outcome, Nicholas Daws, Managing Director of Emanuel Exports stated
The company intends to vigorously defend the matter in court, on a date to be determined.
Concluding, RSPCA commented on the decision, noting that
The shocking evidence of the incident – provided by a concerned whistle-blower working on the Awassi Express – shocked the majority of Australians who will no doubt join the RSPCA in supporting these charges.