In March 2024, many cows were reported to have died in a live export ship from Australia. The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) received a voluntary notification of animals’ moralities on the ship Brahman Express, a Luxembourg-registered purpose-built farmed animal carrier operated by the Duch company Vroon. The vessel has a capacity of around 4,500 feeder cows or 2,200 heavier-weight cows.

The ship left the Australian port of Darwin on 15th March 2024, was in Indonesia from the 19th to the 24th after stopping in Singapore and was expected to return to Darwin at the end of the month. Bloomberg quoted a spokesperson from the Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) confirming that at least 100 animals had died, and the initial assessment suggests Botulism could be the cause of death (which is a disease that can affect both humans and other animals, causing muscle paralysis and often death). The Council said that “Efforts are underway to treat remaining animals that may be affected.” 

In the EU, more than $1.5 billion annually are traded as part of live exports of farmed animals, despite many calls by animal rights groups to ban them. The number of licensed animal carriers operating in the EU is 64, and they are overcrowded ships reported to be in poor conditions by animal rights groups, with only four of them being purposely built for the trade of animals. 

Australia is Indonesia’s biggest supplier of live cows, transporting about 400,000 animals annually. In April 2021, after enormous public pressure and the heart-breaking drownings of thousands of cows at sea, the New Zealand government finally agreed to put an end to live export. However, this ban only came into effect on 30th April 2023. Australian animal protection groups are calling for a similar ban. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.