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

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

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cattle
  • Live export
  • Mortality

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