Australia nixes plan to send livestock to Israel amid Houthi threat

The MV Bahijah set out for Israel with 14,000 sheep and 1,500 cattle and a new route around Africa, but returns to Australia due to Houthi threat on Red Sea

The Australian government said Monday that declined a request from livestock exporters to ship about 14,000 sheep and 1,500 cattle to Israel on a month-long voyage around Africa.
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The MV Bahijah, which left Australia for Israel on January 5, altered its route, avoiding the Red Sea due to threats of attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels. The Houthis have targeted vessels traversing the Red Sea in response to Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza. Subsequently, the Australian government ordered the ship to return home.
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הספינה שהוחלט להחזירה לאוסטרליה
הספינה שהוחלט להחזירה לאוסטרליה
The MV Bahijah
(Photo: Shiptohell)
The situation of the animals, on board the vessel for a month, has sparked outcry from animal rights advocates who equate their treatment with torture.
For a week, the ship has lingered off the coast of Western Australia, awaiting the government's decision on whether it can resume its journey. Over the past few days, several hundred cattle were unloaded. However, Australia's biosecurity regulations mandate that any animals disembarked must undergo quarantine.
The agriculture ministry stated that it wasn't satisfied with the exporter's application, citing concerns about compliance with both Australian and Israeli regulatory standards and the welfare of the animals. While the ministry didn't elaborate further on the decision, it assured that the animals were still in good health.
"The next steps regarding the livestock onboard are at the discretion of the exporter," the ministry stated, adding that they remain open to assessing any future applications.
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