For Immediate Release:

27 May 2020

Animal Rights Group Suggests Federal Government Implement Ban After Six Crew Members On Board Live-Export Vessel Al Kuwait Test Positive for COVID-19

Perth – After six crew members on board the live-export vessel the Al Kuwait, which is docked in Fremantle, tested positive for COVID-19, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to the Western Australian government, calling for it to push the federal government to ban live exports.

Numerous investigations have revealed rampant cruelty aboard live-export ships. Over the weeks-long voyages in cramped, sweltering-hot conditions, many animals die of dehydration, starvation, or disease, while others are trampled to death or drown in their own waste. Of course, the suffering doesn’t end when the boat docks in the Middle East – weak animal protection laws there mean they’re subjected to abuse and slaughter methods that would be illegal here. It’s no wonder 75% of Australians oppose this barbaric trade.

In the letter, PETA points out that animals aren’t the only ones who suffer in the live-export trade. Crew members aboard these ships are exposed to dangerous levels of ammonia, carbon dioxide, and highly flammable methane – from the animals and their waste. In 2016, veterinarian Dr Lynn Simpson spoke out about human rights concerns within the industry, saying, “What shocked me most [about live export] was the disregard for humanity and the poor conditions that many seafarers are forced to endure.”

The group notes that the Al Kuwait outbreak wasn’t caused by infected animals but that just as abattoirs and other animal-exploiting facilities are potential breeding grounds for the next pandemic, so, too, are live-export ships – with the exacerbating factor of worldwide travel.

“[A]s countless businesses that rely on international travel have gone into financial freefall, the live-export industry has continued to operate …. [It] causes humans and animals to suffer. The outbreak aboard the Al Kuwait is yet another reason this trade must end,” writes PETA Senior Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “We sincerely hope the Western Australian government will make the responsible and humane decision to move away from this archaic industry and work with the federal government to shut it down altogether.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – notes that choosing vegan foods helps avoid the spread of zoonotic diseases, prevents animal suffering, and is better for the environment.

PETA’s letter to the Western Australian government can be found here. For more information, please visit