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Animals Are Dying At Sea And No One Can See Their Pain

It's being called one of the "worst live shipping disasters" in Australia's history - and no one can even get close enough to see exactly what's happened.

The Statesman, a ship carrying 200 cows through the Bass Strait, encountered rough seas and severe weather on Saturday night. It's been reported that most, if not all, of the animals were being kept without shelter on the deck of the ship.

Fifty-six animals, more than a quarter of the cows, died of injuries in just 24 hours. Some were in such bad shape, they had to be euthanized upon reaching port in Victoria.

This latest massive failure, far from the first, shows just how far the live export industry will go to make a buck. Thousands of animals are routinely shipped long distances in the live export business and longterm suffering and painful deaths along the way are just part of the routine. In January, 13,000 animals were stranded for days at sea.

"That so many animals perished in rough seas in under 24 hours, also indicates the appalling suffering and terror the surviving animals must have endured," wrote Animals Australia, an organization that is calling for a stop to the live shipping madness, on Facebook. "These animals are among thousands of sheep, dairy and beef cattle sent on ships each year across the notoriously dangerous Bass Strait. They are subjected to weather extremes, rough seas and spray during the crossing - only to be slaughtered when they reach the mainland."