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Middle East
Australian sheep stranded in the Gulf
Two vessels carrying more than 70,000 sheep refused permission to dock by Bahrain and Kuwait due to infection fears.
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2012 08:41
Four million sheep every year board massive cargo ships bound for the Middle East [Getty]

Two Australian ships holding thousands of sheep have been rejected from loading in Kuwait and Bahrain and remain at sea.

The Australian ship Ocean Drover, carrying 22,000 sheep, has been blocked from unloading in Bahrain since the end of August.

The sheep have already been on the water for 33 days.

Kuwait has also rejected a shipment exported by the Australian company Emanuel’s on the Kuwaiti ship Al Shuwaikh. About 50,000 sheep are on board the ship that was due to dock a week ago.

There are unconfirmed reports that the carrier is now moving its cargo to shore.

According to the Australian agriculture department, the shipments are both infected with the disease scabby mouth.

After the Cormo Express case, in which more than 5,000 sheep died, Australia signed memoranda of understanding with destination countries that oblige them to accept live exports into feedlots within 36 hours, including into quarantine, if needed.

But the new cases suggest procedures for animal welfare in the live export trade have failed.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon says the situation is unacceptable.

"The memorandum of understanding now looks like worthless bits of paper," she said.

"What they require is for the sheep to be unloaded within 36 hours of docking.

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