Risk factors for mortality in cattle during live export from Australia by sea

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Abstract

ObjectiveThis study investigated mortality trends and risk factors for<br />death for cattle exported live from Australia by sea.<br />MethodsMortality data for all voyages from Australia to all destinations<br />between 1995 and 2012 were analysed retrospectively. Daily mortality<br />trends were assessed for 20 long-haul voyages from Australia to the<br />Middle East and to the Russian Federation between 2010 and 2012.<br />ResultsThe overall voyage mortality percentage was 0.17% across the 13<br />million cattle exported on 6447 voyages. Mortality rates decreased<br />significantly after 2000 and stabilised at low levels from 2003. The<br />mortality rate for voyages to the Middle East and north Africa (0.44%)<br />was significantly higher than for voyages to south-east Europe (0.28%),<br />north-east Asia (0.12%) and south-east Asia (0.09%). Cattle exported<br />from ports in southern Australia carried a higher mortality risk than<br />those exported from northern ports for both long- and short-haul<br />voyages. The daily mortality rate on long-haul voyages peaked at 3-4<br />weeks post-departure, although there was a smaller peak at 1-2 weeks.<br />ConclusionThe marked reduction in mortality rate since 2000 is related<br />to a number of factors, including industry initiatives, government<br />legislation and market demand, that have resulted in changes to both the<br />selection of cattle for export and the management of cattle prior to and<br />during voyages. Routine collection of animal performance data, combined<br />with NLIS records and use of methods described here, have the potential<br />to contribute to more effective management of mortality risks across the<br />export chain.

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Moore, S. J., Madin, B., Norman, G., & Perkins, N. R. (2015). Risk factors for mortality in cattle during live export from Australia by sea. Australian Veterinary Journal, 93(10), 339–348. https://doi.org/10.1111/avj.12355

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