Exploited workers and terrified animals alike flee from live export ships.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 20 September 2018

Crew members from the live export vessel Maysora have ‘abandoned ship’ — and turned to Australian Border Force officers with a plea for help.

The crew, hailing from Pakistan, claim they’ve gone unpaid for a long time, and don’t want to be forced to return to what some may call economic slavery onboard the Maysora.

This isn’t the first time concerns have been raised about the welfare of workers on live export ships. Dr Lynn Simpson, who worked as the onboard vet for some 57 live export voyages, tending the best she could to the health needs of animals and humans alike, personally witnessed how crew members were forced to work in conditions that would scar most of us, mentally and physically, for life.

"When you see the work they (sb)the deck crew(/sb) have to do you soon realise how much a Westerner would demand for it — and then likely quit ASAP."
- Dr Lynn Simpson

Foreign crew members, like the 19 who walked off the Maysora, have had to clean up after Australia’s live export industry for years. In a series of damning articles, Dr Lynn Simpson describes how daily life for the deck crew on live export ships often includes sleeping on 40°C+ decks to try and catch a breeze (compared to the predominantly Western officers in their air-conditioned cabins); scooping up dead and decomposing animals with their bare hands; and running the risk of contracting potentially deadly diseases.

A live export ship is no place for people, or animals. Many animals have fought to the bitter end to escape their cruel fate — fleeing from ships and docks at the first opportunity. Sadly, most die in the attempt, or are recaptured and put straight back onboard. But one little Aussie sheep, who was exported live to Israel, beat the odds…

Sahar, as he came to be known, leapt for freedom into the ocean at the Port of Eliat in Israel. But his trials weren’t over. Struggling to keep his head afloat, he would surely have drowned if not for the compassionate actions of a 14-year-old-boy, who jumped into the water to hold Sahar afloat and raise the alarm.

"Our thought was that the sheep deserved freedom"
- Sahar’s rescuers

All animals deserve freedom, and no-one — animal or person — should ever be subjected to the inescapable suffering at the heart of live export.

Help save both sheep and crew from being exploited by this cruel industry. Make sure your MP knows that it’s time to end Australia’s live export trade, once and for all.

Take action now »