The sinking of the Panamanian-flagged ship Danny F II has served as a harsh reminder of why the long distance transport of animals for slaughter is risky business. Several crew members from the ship are still missing, and rescue teams have described how they pulled ‘shocked, distraught and cold’ survivors from the sea.
Although the tragic loss to human life will naturally remain in focus in reports on this tragedy, we ask people to spare a thought for the nearly 30,000 cattle that have also perished, and whose suffering – both during the journey and with the accident – could have been avoided entirely.
The cruelty of long distance transport
WSPA has been campaigning to get governments and stakeholders from all countries involved in the livestock trade to stop the long distance transport of live animals as this cruel practice results in poor animal welfare. Millions of animals suffer every year as they are transported for as long as 30 days in filthy and stressful conditions, only to be slaughtered at their destination.
As Sofia Parente, Programmes Manager for WSPA’s campaign on ending the long distance trade of animals for slaughter, says “Previous WSPA investigations on the Danny F II and other similar cargo vehicles involved in the trade have shown how animals are packed tightly into the holds of ships, with limited access to food and water, suffering great distress, injuries and dehydration before they arrive at slaughterhouses at their destination. As many as 10% of the animals can die during these journeys.”
The livestock trade can be easily replaced with chilled and frozen meat products derived from animals humanely slaughtered at their point of origin. Apart from significantly improving the welfare of the animals concerned, this move to chilled meat products would also bring economic, environmental and developmental benefits to countries at both ends of the trade.