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The Decreased Mortality Rate Of Livestock During Export

Did you know that Australia is one of the (very, very) few countries that invest in animal welfare beyond its borders?

When live export makes the news, it is usually because of an isolated accident. A tragic accident happens and it gets reported. Which is fair enough, because people generally want to know what’s going on around the world. However, it’s the nature of the presentation of the story that often causes the problem.

The story then becomes the new archetype for all live export trade. But did you know what the actual mortality rates of livestock during export are?

Interesting facts that WILL surprise you*

In the last decade the number of animals dying during export declined: and the decline is significant. Here are just some statistics:

Goat2%Close to ZERO


Despite the harmful nature of the 2011 ban, it did have one good outcome. Prior to the ban only about 5% of Australian-sourced cattle were stunned before slaughter. Post-ban, that number sky-rocketed to 80%. AUSTREX proudly supports the practice of stunning and ESCAS.

The livestock export industry brings 1 billion dollars annually to the Australian economy. In 2013 alone:

LivestockNumber exportedValueLargest market
Sheep2 million$173 millionMiddle East 98%
Goat75,000$8 millionMalaysia 74%
Cattle (beef)900,000$755 millionIndonesia 53%


As the story shifts from animal welfare—because, let’s face it, 0.1% mortality rate during export is about as close (statistically) as it’s going to get—it needs to focus on the farmers and the industry.

At the moment the alternative to live export is frozen goods – which is not, at this stage, an alternative. Who knows how long frozen stuff has been frozen for? Or where’s it come from and how do you know it is what the package says it is?

These aren’t great arguments: which is the point. There are problems with shipping frozen meat off to places like Russia and Europe. All people seem to want to do is replace one problem with another.

The topic of conversation needs to change

The conversation needs to shift. The welfare of animals is being fiercely protected, and the mortality rate during export is being reduced so close to zero, there’s not much else can be done.

If all the time, effort and money of being angry were spent on infrastructure for drought-affected farmers and helping promote programs like ESCAS, welfare issues would all-but disappear.

This is a billion dollar industry and there is still room to grow (a lot of room to grow in fact). Why is this not being encouraged?


AUSTREX works with local and international farmers and their communities to provide income and employment. As a company, AUSTREX exceeds the Export Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS) requirements across the market.

Our processes and commitment to quality assurance means our customers can count on quality and consistency of products throughout the supply chain.

*Facts taken from an article published in The Australian on the 23/4/2014:https://bit.ly/1idI5vc

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