Exposing a crime is not committing a crime, but that’s what the live-export industry and its supporters tried to pretend when video footage was released showing thousands of sheep dying of heat stress on its ships.
Trainee navigator Faisal Ullah took a camera on board the live-export vessel the Awassi Expressand filmed a journey to the Middle East. What he captured caused a seismic shift in the public’s view of one of Australia’s cruellest industries.
The live-export industry’s response was to look for someone to blame. Wild accusations were hurled that the footage had been fabricated and that ship workers had paid to obtain the images of suffering sheep.
The federal Department of Agriculture launched an investigation and found no basis for these dishonest allegations. There was no evidence to suggest that the footage had been contrived or that any of the other accusations levelled at the whistle-blower were true.
63,000 sheep are on board the Awassi Express travelling from Fremantle to the Middle East. The conditions on board are so terrible, crewman Faisal Ullah felt compelled to break the ship’s rules – and risk his career – to show the animal’s suffering. #60Mins pic.twitter.com/zdOTRdVgpy
— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) April 8, 2018
Meanwhile, an investigation into the company behind the deadly voyage – Emanuel Exports – and two of its former directors resulted in cruelty-to-animals charges.
While large companies perpetuate the suffering of animals for profit, one man took action when he saw injustice.
Ullah shone a much-needed light on the rarely seen abuse and neglect that occur aboard live-export vessels, and his courage should inspire all of us to speak up for what’s right. That’s precisely why PETA named him our Person of the Year in 2018.
Of course, this is not just the story of one ship – it’s a nightmare spanning decades with millions of victims, and the fight to ban live export isn’t over. We must continue to pressure the Australian government to end this barbaric trade: