This steer was ready to die for his freedom. They still wouldn't give it to him.

The heartbreaking episode happened earlier this week when the frightened animal escaped from his handlers at an Australian dock. He was about to be loaded onto an export ship bound for Vietnam, where he would be slaughtered.

He had already endured a grueling journey, packed onto an overcrowded truck and driven from his home to the busy port, and was stressed and scared by all the new sights and sounds. When officials arrived to recapture him he was "freaking out," they told Australia's ABC news.

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They shot the steer with two sedation darts. But the petrified animal refused to let himself be recaptured. "He took one look at us and was like: 'Oh no,'" Will Green, a ranger who responded to the incident, told ABC.

Instead, the brave steer turned right around β€” and hurled himself off the 25-foot tall dock into the crocodile-infested water below. Even as the sedatory drugs began to course through his system, he was determined to do whatever he could to escape.

This sad story raises even more questions about Australia's live export industry, which has attracted growing concern from animal lovers worldwide. Each year the country exports millions of live animals for slaughter β€” to countries that have little or no animal protection laws.

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More than 2.5 million animals have died over the past 30 years from the terrible conditions during the journey abroad, and those that make the trip face a fate even worse than those of factory farmed animals.

One recent investigation by Animals Australia showed that animals sent to Vietnam, where this unlucky steer was destined for, were being sledgehammered to death; another 2015 investigation revealed that cows sent to Israel were having their throats slit and being strung up while fully conscious.

Unfortunately, this steer didn't have a better fate. With the help of a local fisherman, officials lassoed the frightened animal. When faced with the option of bringing him back to port or hoisting him onto the export ship, they chose the latter.

So they wrapped the scared steer in a fishing net and dumped his tired body onto the ship that would bring him to his death.

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If you'd like to stop Australia's live export of animals, you can click here to join the nearly 500,000 people who have signed a petition calling for it to end. You can also donate to Animal Australia's campaign here.