Nearly 3,000 Cattle Die On A Stranded Ship

One of the worst live export tragedies is finally over leaving 2,750 cattle dead out of 5,600 on board a Brazilian ship headed to Egypt. The remaining animals are on land, after being stranded in the Red Sea for a week.

Animal welfare group, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) said the Gracia Del Mar was carrying 5,600 animals from Brazil to Egypt to be slaughtered for food. The ship first got into trouble after running into bad weather. Later the converted livestock ship had problems with its ventilation and food systems. The combination of these complications caused half the cattle on board to suffer and die.

Animals Australia called the incident, “one of the worst shipboard disasters the live export industry has seen in many years.” The animal rights group pleaded with the Australian government to send resources to help the surviving cattle.

When the Gracia Del Mar arrived at Port Said, Egypt which should have been the end of their journey, they were refused permission to dock because of the dead animals. The captain made the decision to sail through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea and try three more ports in Djibouti, Sudan and Eritrea, but they were turned away again.

Ultimately the ship became stranded in the Red Sea with the suffering cows inside.

Animals Australia reported that authorities considered moving the remaining cattle onto smaller boats in the Horn of Africa and then sailing them to shore. Activists urged officials that this was inhumane and to unload the cattle directly onto dry land.

Finally on Tuesday, word was received that all of the live animals had been taken off the ship. Animal groups are now trying to learn the whereabouts of the cows.

“We have been unable to verify the latest reports but are continuing in our efforts to find out what is happening with the surviving cattle and trying to ensure their humane treatment after the harrowing journey they have been forced to endure,” CIWF said.

“What is clear at the moment is the incident is another example of why long distance travel for farm animals should be ended.”

Lyn White, Director of Animals Australia worried about the consequences to the animals if the ship had “broken down on the open ocean.” “It would have caused a catastrophe,” she said.

Peter Kane of the Australian Live Export Council condemned some of the guidelines of the Brazilian cattle export business, but touted the many safeguards and high-standards his country has in place to protect the animals being shipped overseas for slaughter.  He assured the public this sort of situation would never happen to Australian cows.

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Photo Credit: blmurch


Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson3 years ago

We have Lyn White on it, it will all end soon, she's animals super woman and gets things changed. We're already looking at building a massive place in Darwin where the animals will be killed to Aussie standards humanely, then transported.
Lyn White is the Campaign Director for Animals Australia. She is recognised and respected as one of Australia's foremost animal advocates and animal cruelty investigators.

Formerly a South Australian police officer, Lyn worked with the Animals Asia Foundation on animal cruelty issues in South East Asia before joining Animals Australia in 2003. The Cormo Express disaster in that year, in which nearly 6,000 animals perished at sea, precipitated Lyn's first investigation into the live export trade. Since then she has conducted 11 investigations in the Middle East, Turkey and Indonesia documenting the cruel treatment of Australian animals exported live for slaughter.

Evidence gathered has resulted in a leading live export company being prosecuted for animal cruelty, the suspension of the live trade to Egypt and Indonesia, a ban on the sheep trade to Egypt, an end to the private sale and slaughter of Australian animals in the Middle East and significant reforms to the entire live trade.

Lyn's 2006 investigation in Egypt, which documented cattle having their tendons slashed and eyes stabbed at Cairo's notorious Bassateen abattoir and sheep being trussed and transported on roof racks, resulted in the Federal government suspending the

Terry V.
Terry V.3 years ago


Abbe A.
Azaima A.3 years ago


Annie Winstead
Annie Winstead3 years ago

My God what are we humans doing to this earth?? One day I guess we will find out when there is nothing left!

Manuela B.
Manuela B.3 years ago

Does this not tell people that exporting live animals is NOT an option.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

omg. what a tragic thing that no one would let them dock!

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing, hope the live cattle are ok :s

Michelle R.
Michelle R.4 years ago

Could we get an update? It has been weeks.

lis Gunn
lis Gunn4 years ago

Got cut off mid sentence.
I would suggest that we all take a look at what we do buy, eat and discard. Instead at having a go at countries which are poor in food resources or have some dietary restrictions, can we not try to clean up our own practices first. I cannot comprehend why there are feed lots in the US (and elsewhere) feeding animals corn which could be used to feed so many more than the beef or pork eaters. Perhaps we should remember that Muslims (and Jews) do not eat pork yet America loves its pork and has even given English some words such as "pork barrelling". I abhor the idea of caged hens or the rearing of animals in confined spaces. Just let's concentrate on the big items such as live animal export, GM crops, caged animals and the big corps that make zillions from this awful trade.

lis Gunn
lis Gunn4 years ago

I absolutely and totally respect those who are vegetarians or vegans in their decisions to avoid meat, fish or animal products. That said however, perhaps one should pause to think about our history. From our earliest days we killed animals for food. First as hunters / gathers and later as farmers and shepherds. We ate what we needed and our animals and food products were not tainted by additives, GM patents, hormones, etc. Animals were reared humanely and organically and very little went to waste. Although our ancestors often measured wealth by way of their animals PROFIT and GREED did not enter the equation. Just look at how we have changed.

I am totally against the live export of animals. Just as I am totally opposed to the inhumane treatment of all animals, immoral wastage of food and GM crops. There is scope however for organic farming, domestic production of food products (Have some of use kept hens in the backyard for our organic eggs? Or picked their own olives, made jams and pickles, kept goats for milk, and meat etc.?)
And there are humane abattoirs where animals are stunned before slaughter, where livestock do not see or smell the slaughter and it is supervised by vets and religious representatives such as kosher and halal "experts". All of which costs money and the consumer doesn't want to pay the extra or even has the time to grow or buy locally grown, organic merchandise.
While there has been much controversy about live animal exports, I would suggest we a