“Whoever is merciful even to a sparrow, Allah will be merciful to him on the Day of Judgment.”  Hadith: Prophet Mohammad (s).

Ignorance and twisted logic see no immediate end to Australia’s immoral live sheep exports.

For decades exporters and others involved in the industry have known of the mortality rate of sheep bound for Middle East markets. Since 1973, there have been an estimated 3 million deaths at sea.

Sheep cannot withstand the heat and humidity of destinations in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, but Australian regulations consider a 2 per cent animal mortality rate is insufficient to require action.

It took a whistle blower who videoed sheep suffering on the Awassi Express used by Emmanuel Exports in Perth to expose the evil trade. Of 63, 804 sheep it loaded for Gulf ports in 2017, 2,400 animals, or 3.76% died.

Screened on Sixty Minutes, the film showed sheep gasping for air in oven-like temperatures; the living lying next to the already dead having been literally cooked alive; ewes birthing lambs that drowned in mountains of excrement.

A “shocked and gutted” Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud ordered an urgent report as Australians from coast to coast voiced their anger and disgust.

More than 350,000 signed Animals Australia’s petition condemning live exports. The RSPCA and VALE (Vets Against Live Exports) slammed conditions on the rusting carriers, but the Coalition refused to impose a ban. Even during May-October.

Sheep are still being sent on the 3-4 week voyage across half the world into the Middle East summer. Adding to their misery, the July monsoon churns up huge waves tossing the animals them about like nine pins.

Made aware of the awful video footage, Australia has been branded a pariah by many countries. Some of the biggest protests have been in Tel Aviv over the MV Bader III, with an awful mortality record, of 10,000 sheep deaths.

Not only due to concern over live animal exports (including cattle) but the entire Australian livestock industry needs an investigation at federal level.

And it is not just their inevitable slaughter following the harrowing sea voyage. Animal agony starts when they leave on giant road-trains for a 2-3 day trip, standing  and without water, to the port of departure (mainly Adelaide and Fremantle).

Trucks packed with sheep are a familiar sight on country roads. On 16 May, a vehicle transporting 430 sheep in NSW overturned, spilling hundreds of injured animals. More than 80 were put down.

Hoping to dampen the furore, Graham Daws, Managing Director of Emmanuel Exports, a major Australia exporter, says one condition must be met: that sheep disembark in Kuwait being “less humid than Doha.” A reason more political than consideration for the sheep since Qatar is blacklisted by other members of the GCC.

On reaching their eventual destination, the animals face further ill treatment in local  abattoirs. Bought direct by individuals, some are stuffed in car boots, three and four at a time.

What is being missed in the anguish is that Muslim voices in Australia are not being heard.

Does not the Qur’an and the Hadiths advocate kindness and respect towards the voiceless creatures with whom we share the planet?

Sheep currently on the high seas are bound for Eid ul-fitr festivities and I put it to every reader of AMUST: if you lived in Kuwait, Qatar or Dubai, how would you feel eating an animal that has endured the long, sickening journey to your dinner plate?

With chilled meat exports yielding $2.6 billion against $2.34 million realised from live exports, the logical way forward is kill and chill (observing Halal requirements) as close as possible to the property of origin.

And to avoid unnecessary animal cruelty, Muslims in the Middle East are urged to only buy chilled or frozen meat available via frequent daily flights from Australia on Arab airlines.