Sheep export protester Hahnheuser is acquitted
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2005:
GEELONG, Australia–A Geelong County Court jury on May 6,
2005 acquitted Ralph Hahnheuser, 42, of “contaminating feed to
cause economic loss.”
Hahnheuser admitted adding shredded pork to the water and
feed given to sheep at a feedlot in Portland, South Australia, on
November 19, 2003, as he immediately afterward announced to news
media. Hahnheuser pleaded innocent by reason of having committed the
act to prevent cruelty to the sheep, who were to have been shipped
to Kuwait the next day.
Islamic dietary law forbids eating pork or having contact
with it. Hahnheuser hoped that the sheep would not be exported if
they were known to have possibly consumed pork. The shipment of
about 70,000 sheep was delayed for two weeks. Represent-atives of
two sheep exporting firms estimated that the action cost them $1.3
million (Australian funds).
The Hahnheuser acquittal came three days after Australian
agriculture minister Warren Truss signed an agreement to resume
shipping sheep to Saudi Arabia. Livestock exports to Saudi Arabia
were suspended in August 2003 after the Saudis refused to accept a
cargo of 57,000 allegedly diseased sheep transported by the Cormo
Express. Australia argued to no avail that the sheep were healthy.
About 13,000 sheep died aboard the Cormo Express during the next
three months. The 44,000 survivors were eventually donated to
Truss said he had won a pledge from Saudi Arabia that
livestock would be unloaded within 36 hours of reaching the port of
Jeddah, but could not guarantee that the Saudis would accept all
The Hahnheuser verdict may have encouraged the Australian
Woolgrowers Association to escalate efforts to end a confrontation
with PETA over the practice of “mulesing” without going to court.
“Mulesing, which involves cutting skin folds from around a
sheep’s anus to prevent fly-strike, will be banned from 2010 and has
long been opposed by animal activists,” the Melbourne Age summarized
on May 9.
The AWA at an early May meeting with Mark Pearson, chief executive
of Animal Liberation New South Wales, “presented evidence that a new
analgesic spray could reduce by 85% the pain suffered by sheep who
undergo mulesing,” the Age said, adding that “Pearson welcomed the
analgesic spray trials as a ‘serious and significant move forward.'”
Pearson “pledged to urge PETA to lift an international
boycott against Australian wool on the condition the spray is used,”
said the Age.
“It is unclear whether the breakthrough will put an end to an
Australian Wool Innovations case against PETA, presently in federal
court,” the Age added.
The court rejected the original case on March 21, but gave
Australian Wool Innovation until May 25 to refile an amended claim.
[Updates about the anti-live export and mulesing campaigns
are at <www.liveexportshame.com>.]